Newton Barber

Horace Newton Barber (191471), botanist (PhD London, Doctor of Science Cambridge, FRS, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science), was foundation Professor of Botany at the University of Tasmania from 1947 to 1963. Tall (over 2 metres), erudite, witty, a gifted writer and thinker, he pioneered the use of genetic mutants to study plant development and built one of the first controlled-environment facilities in Australia. Trained in evolution and cytogenetics, he led studies ranging from chromosome counts of Tasmanian marsupials to the role of selective forces shaping Tasmanian plant (and animal) populations.

Inspired by Barber's vision, three generations of students have gone on to leadership roles that sustain the Department at the forefront of work on plant development and eucalypt population genetics. Barber was a foundation member of the Genetics Society of Australia and, in 1963, the first Tasmanian resident since 1854 to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Further reading: 'Horace Newton Barber 19141971', Biographical memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 18, 1972.

Ian Murfet