FIVE FACTS ABOUT ... LORD TODD
Every week we’ll highlight famous Glaswegians
Lord Alexander Todd was a Nobel Prize-winning chemist, whose love of the subject was sparked by a toy chemistry set he had growing up in Cathcart.
He was born in Glasgow on October 2, 1907, the elder son of Alexander Todd, a business man, and his wife Jean Lowrie. At the age of 50, he was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on nucleotides and nucleotide co-enzymes. His work laid the foundations for research to establish DNA’s general formula.
Educated at Allan Glen’s School and Glasgow University, where he took his BSc degree in 1928, Lord Todd studied in Germany – he went to Frankfurt to take his DPhil with the German organic chemist Walther Borsche – and in England before returning to Scotland in 1934. He was knighted in 1954.
He held a string of important roles at universities across the UK, and his work has gained him recognition around the world. He held honorary doctorates from 11 universities, he was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Spanish Council of Scientific Investigation, plus an honorary member of the French, German and Spanish chemical societies.
Lord Todd has won many awards, in addition to the crowning glory of the Nobel Prize, and was an advisor to the Government on many occasions. People came from all over the world to work with him. He died in 1997 in Cambridge. The University of Strathclyde has named a building in his honour.
He laid the foundations for research on DNA’s general formula
Lord Provost Robert Gray presents the Loving Cup to Lord Todd in 1986 – the professor was crucial in laying the foundations for later research on DNA