Elected: 1949
Discipline: Organismal and Environmental Biology
Professor Charlotte Auerbach FRSE
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Lotte Auerbach, who died on 17 March 1994, was born in Krefeld in 1899, the only daughter of Jewish parents. Her father was a physical chemist and her grandfather the discoverer of Auberbach’s plexus in the human intestine. From her early introduction to biology at school, her interest was fostered by her father for whom the natural sciences became a passion. Her interest in the then still infant science of Genetics was kindled by a school lecture on the behaviour of the chromosomes at cell division which she later described as one of the truly spiritual experiences of her life. Her grandfather was similarly absorbed by the study of chromosomes to the extent that, as Lotte loved to relate, when on his honeymoon he left his young wife at their hotel while he visited the nearby university to discuss new developments. The discussion was so interesting that he forgot her entirely and accepted an invitation to dinner to continue talking. Fortunately forgiveness was granted and the marriage was a happy one or perhaps this account would not have been needed!