Sir Robert Robinson was born at Rufford, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, UK in 1886. He studied at Manchester University, where he graduated with his B.Sc. in 1906 and D.Sc. in 1910.
In 1912, he was appointed the first Professor of Pure and Applied Organic Chemistry in the University of Sydney. He returned to Britain in 1915 to take the Chair in Organic Chemistry at the University of Liverpool until 1920 when he accepted an appointment as Director of Research at the British Dyestuffs Corporation. He became Professor of Chemistry at St. Andrews on year later, and in 1922 he took the Chair in Organic Chemistry at Manchester University until 1928 when he accepted a similar post in the University of London. In 1930, he was appointed Waynflete Professor of Chemistry, Oxford University, where he remained until his retirement in 1955 when he was appointed Emeritus Professor and Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College. Following this retirement, he was a Director of the Shell Chemical Company and a chemical consultant.
Robinson's extensive researches in organic chemistry dealt not only with the structure and synthesis of many organic bodies, but also with the electrochemical mechanism of organic reactions. His interest in the chemical constitution of plant dyestuffs soon extended to another group of vegetable bodies, the alkaloids. He contributed significantly towards the definition of the arrangement of atoms within molecules of morphine, papaverine, narcotine, and others. These discoveries led to the successful production of certain antimalarial drugs and in the synthesis of penicillin.
Information as of 1947