Born Aug. 3, 1915, in Sydney. Australian organic chemist. Member of the Australian Academy of Sciences (1954).
In 1937, Birch graduated from the University of Sydney; he was a professor of organic chemistry at the university from 1952 to 1955. From 1955 to 1967 he was a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Manchester, and in 1970 he became a professor and the dean of the Institute of Applied Research at the Australian National University in Canberra. Birch’s principal works deal with the synthesis of natural compounds. He studied the reduction of aromatic compounds into dihydroaromatic compounds by the action of sodium and alcohol in a medium of liquid ammonia (the Birch reduction).
Birch became a fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1958 and a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1976.