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Helen Kemp Porter, British botanist

Helen Kemp Porter, British botanist

C037/5444

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Credit

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption

Helen Kemp Porter (1899-1987), British botanist, in her lab at Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, UK. Porter is best known for her work on carbohydrate metabolism in plants. She discovered that in barley and other plants starch was synthesised directly in the grains, rather than in the stems and transported to the grains as was previously thought. She used the new techniques of chromatography and radioactive tracers in her work. In 1959 Porter became the first female professor at Imperial College and head of its Department of Plant Physiology. In 1956 she had been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

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