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Born Sept. 13, 1886, in Bufford, near Chesterfield; died Feb. 24, 1975, in London. British organic chemist. Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1920).
Robinson earned a doctorate in science upon completion of his studies at Victoria University of Manchester in 1910. He was a professor of organic chemistry at the universities of Sydney (1912–15), Liverpool (1915–21), Manchester (1922–28), and London (1928–30) and a professor of chemistry at Oxford University (1930–55). He was president of the Chemical Society of Great Britain (1939–41) and the Royal Society of London (1945–50).
Robinson was one of the founders of the chemistry of natural compounds. He investigated the structure of many alkaloids, isoprenoids, and anthocyanins and determined the structure of morphine and strychnine. He was successful in synthesizing such compounds as atropine, cocaine, and pelargonidin. The schemes for alkaloid biogenesis proposed by Robinson served as a basis for numerous experimental studies in this field. Robinson was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1947 and was a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1966).