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Arthur Lapworth

Date and place of birth: Galashiels, 10 October 1862

Arthur Lapworth, a pioneer in the field of physical organic chemistry, was born in Galashiels and educated at St Andrew’s and King Edward’s School in Birmingham.

His father Charles, born in Oxfordshire, was a schoolmaster in Galashiels while researching and investigating fauna in the region. He went on to become the eminent first Professor of Geology at the Mason Science College, a predecessor of the University of Birmingham.

Arthur Lapworth graduated from Mason College and worked on a scholarship at City and Guilds of London Institute before taking up a post at the University of London. 

He went on to work at the Goldsmiths Institute as head of the Chemistry Department and in 1909 became Senior Lecturer in Inorganic and Physical chemistry at the University of Manchester. 

In 1913, he was appointed Professor of Organic Chemistry and in 1922, the Sir Samuel Hall professor (of inorganic and physical chemistry) and Director of Laboratories. Arthur Lapworth was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May 1910 and was awarded their Davy Medal – for “an outstandingly important recent discovery in any branch of chemistry” – in 1931.

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