Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Francis John Worsley Roughton FRS (1899-1972), physiologist

This record is held by Cambridge University Library: Department of Manuscripts and University Archives

Details of Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Francis John Worsley Roughton FRS (1899-1972), physiologist
Title: Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Francis John Worsley Roughton FRS (1899-1972), physiologist
Reference: NCUACS 88.1.00
Description:

SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL A.1-A.184

 

SECTION B DEPARTMENT OF COLLOID SCIENCE B.1-B.55

 

SECTION C PUBLICATIONS C.1-C.7

 

SECTION D SCIENTIFIC CORRESPONDENCE D.1-D.6

 

The material covers the period 1905-1973.

 

Section A, Biographical, is the largest in the collection. There is some documentation of school, undergraduate and early scientific career but the principal component is a sequence of letters and postcards from Roughton to his mother, 1905-1929. There are also small groups of letters from 'friends' including scientific and Trinity College Cambridge colleagues from the period ca 1920-1925.

 

Section B, Department of Colloid Science, principally relates to the future of colloid science and the department on Roughton's retirement. The material includes Roughton's correspondence with the university authorities and scientific colleagues and papers by him and others on future of colloid science at Cambridge.

 

Section C, Publications, consists of a list of publications and a set of off-prints 1921-1973, the last item in the set being an off-print of Q.H. Gibson's memoir for the Royal Society.

 

Section D, Scientific correspondence, is not extensive but of some importance as relating to Roughton's Second World War research at Harvard. His correspondents are E.D. Adrian, W.L. Bragg, R.H. Fowler and A.V. Hill.

Date: 1905-1973
Held by: Cambridge University Library: Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Extent: ca 250 items
Administrative History:

OUTLINE OF THE CAREER OF F.J.W. ROUGHTON

 

Francis John Worsley Roughton was born on 6 January 1899 at Kettering where his father was the fifth successive Roughton to practice medicine. He was educated at Winchester College (Scholar) and Trinity College Cambridge (Scholar). As a young man he suffered from attacks of paroxysmal tachycardia. In consequence he was unable to serve in the First World War coming up to Trinity in 1917 on leaving Winchester. He was also advised that his cardiac condition precluded his planned career in medicine. His academic distinction was such (1st Class Natural Sciences Tripos Part I) that although he was unable to take his Part II examinations because of repeated cardiac attacks he was treated as if he had done so, and became a graduate student. On completion of his thesis he was elected to a Fellowship at Trinity (1923). He was successively Lecturer in Biochemistry, 1923-1927 and Lecturer in Physiology, 1927-1947, at Cambridge. In 1925 he married Alice Hopkinson whose father had been Professor of Engineering at Cambridge. They had two children Geoffrey and Rosemary.

 

The foundations of Roughton's research career were laid working with H. Hartridge to make the first rapid kinetic measurement on a solution by the mixing method. His interest in these early years was mainly physiology and Roughton, with three other young Cambridge scientists M. Dixon, J. Needham and H. Tunnicliffe, belonged to an informal association called the Canula Club which met to discuss topics in physiology. In 1929 he was Rockefeller travelling fellow in the USA and was back again in America in 1940 at the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory, conducting war-related research, chiefly on the effects of carbon monoxide on respiration.

 

Roughton returned to Cambridge at the end of the Second World War and in 1947 accepted an invitation to become the second John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Colloid Science (in succession to E.K. Rideal) and Head of the Department of Colloid Science. He presided over a rather disparate group in the Department whose interests ranged from physical chemistry of proteins to ore flotation. During the latter part of his tenure he attempted to re-direct the work of the Department towards the study of membranes and biological surface effects. However, such were the doubts about the existence of a definable subject called Colloid Science that on his retirement in 1966 the title of the department was extinguished in favour of Biophysics. During the last 15 years of his life he spent an increasing amount of time in California and Milan working on the basic problems of respiratory physiology and of the carbon dioxide - haemoglobin interaction.

 

Roughton was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1936. He died at Cambridge on 29 April 1972.

 

For a fuller account of the life and career of Roughton see Q.H. Gibson's memoir for the Royal Society on which this outline has freely drawn (Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, vol 19 (1973), 563-582).

Creator Names:
  • Roughton, Francis John Worsley, 1899-1972, physiologist and colloid scientist
Immediate Source Of Acquisition:
  • The papers were received in April 1999 from Dr Rosemary Summers, daughter.

Conditions of access:

NOT ALL THE MATERIAL IN THIS COLLECTION MAY YET BE AVAILABLE FOR CONSULTATION. ENQUIRIES SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN THE FIRST INSTANCE TO:

 

THE KEEPER OF MANUSCRIPTS AND UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES

 

THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

 

WEST ROAD

 

CAMBRIDGE

Note:

Compiled by Peter Harper and Timothy E. Powell

 

The work of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and organisations:

 

The Biochemical Society

 

The British Crystallographic Association

 

The Geological Society

 

The Higher Education Funding Council for England

 

The Institute of Physics

 

The Royal Society

 

Trinity College Cambridge

 

The Wellcome Trust

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

We are grateful to Dr Summers for making the papers available for cataloguing.

"
Related Material:
  • The principal deposit of Roughton papers is housed at the American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Link to NRA Record:

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