Robert Warington, F. R. S. (1838–1907)


    ON August 22 occurs the centenary of the birth of the English agricultural chemist, Robert Warington, who for many years worked at Rothamsted, Harpenden, Herts, and, like his contemporaries. Sir John Lawes and Sir Joseph Gilbert, is buried at Harpenden. Warington was the son of Robert Warington (1807-67) the practical chemist who convened the meeting at the Royal Society of Arts on February 23, 1841, which led to the formation of the Chemical Society. At this time, Warington's parents were living at the Apothecaries Hall, in the City of London, and as a boy he learned chemistry from his father and from the lectures of Faraday, Brande and Hofmann. When twenty years of age, he worked under Lawes at Rothamsted as an unpaid assistant ; but a year later he returned to London as assistant to Frankland at South Kensington, whence he went to the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. It was here that he commenced lecturing on the Rothamsted experiments. Leaving Cirencester in 1867, he became chemist to Lawes's manure and acid factory at Millwall, but in 1876 returned to Harpenden, where he remained until 1891, publishing many memoirs on the nitrification of the soil. Leaving the Rothamsted laboratory, he lectured in America, and after his return home was examiner in agriculture to the Science and Art Department and Sibthorpian professor of rural economy at Oxford, a post he held for three years. He died at Harpenden on March 20, 1907. His most successful Work was his “Chemistry of the Farm”, which was translated into several foreign languages and reached its nineteenth edition while he was still alive.

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    Robert Warington, F. R. S. (1838–1907). Nature 142, 323 (1938).

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