Eric Ashby


(IMAGE - University Archives)


Eric Ashby was one of the most distinguished figures to work in Botany in the University of Sydney. Ashby became head of the Department of Botany in 1938 at the age of 33. He was previously a senior lecturer in Botany at Bristol University and an adviser to the British National Fruit Traders Association. He was known for his lively lectures and relaxed manner. Ashby later became Australia´s Scientific Attaché to Moscow and in 1946 left Australia to become Harrison Professor of Botany at Manchester. He was indeed knighted for his services to the advancement of science, but was subsequently made a life peer. 

Career Highlights
Born at Leytonstone, Essex. 24 August 1904. Died 22 October 1992. Educated Royal College of Science (Imperial College) (BSc). Demonstrator, Imperial College, 1926-29; Commonwealth Fellowship, University of Chicage, 1929-31; Lecturer, Imperial College, 1931-35; Lecturer and Reader, University of Bristol, 1935-38; Professor of Botany, University of Sydney, 1938-46; Scientific Counsellor, Moscow, 1944-45; Professor of Botany, Manchester University, 1947-50; President and Vice-Chancellor, Queen's University, Belfast, 1950-59; Master, Clare College, Cambridge, 1959-67 and Vice-Chancellor 1967-75.

Knight Bachelor 1956, Order of St John 1958, Life Peer as Baron Ashby of Brandon in Suffolk 1973. Secretary, Society for Experimental Biology, 1935-38, President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1962-63, President and Chancellor, Queen's University, Belfast, 1973. Centenary Medal, Royal Society of Tasmania, 1968. Twenty-five honorary degrees from universities in four continents.