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Cookson, Isabel Clifton (1893 - 1973)

Published Sources
Born: 25 December 1893  Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  Died: 1 July 1973  Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia.
Isabel Clifton Cookson was Research Fellow in Botany, University of Melbourne 1952-1959. She was world renowned for her research which included fossil plant studies. Cookson created many international collaborations and associations which lead to significant discovories. The Cooksonia plant genus and the Isabel Cookson Award (Botanical Society of America) have been named in her honour. Isabel Cookson has published over 80 papers and produced many botanical illustrations.

Career Highlights
After completing her studies at Hambledon and Methodist Ladies Colleges, Isabel Clifton Cookson went to Melbourne University. In 1916 she graduated with a BSc majoring in botany and zoology. Cookson went on to tutor, then lecture in botany at the University. She was appointed Research Fellow in 1952 and held this position up until her death in 1973. In 1926 Isabel Cookson made the first of many study/ research trips to the University of Manchester. It was during one of these visits that she developed a keen interest in fossil plants. Cookson and Manchester University’s Prof. W. H. Lang developed a long term and very productive partnership. Their collaboration resulted in many key publications. Prof. W. H. Lang even named a plant genus (Cooksonia) in her honour.

Isabel Cookson later returned to Australia where she pioneered palynolgy studies in Australia. Her work on fossil-plant remains lead to her appointment as head of the University’s Pollen Research Unit (1949) and to obtain a Doctorate of Science. Her 58 years of research produced great insight into the history and evolution of Australia’s flora and 85 publications – 30 of which were written after she had officially retired. Her reputation as an outstanding botanist was world wide. The Botanical Society of America commemorate her achievements by awarding the Isabel Cookson Award to the best paper on palaeobotany presented at their annual meeting.

1916Bachelor of Science (BSc) completed at the University of Melbourne
1916 - 1917Government research scholarship received to study the flora of the Northern Territory
1916 - 1926Botany Tutor at Newman College, University of Melbourne
1916 - 1929Demonstrator in Botany at the University of Melbourne
1917 - 1958Member of the Royal Society of Victoria
1925 - 1926Research and studies at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London
1926 - 1927Research work at the University of Manchester, UK
1928Demonstrator (part-time) in Zoology at the University of Melbourne
1929 - 1930Research work at the University of Manchester
1930 - 1951Lecturer in Botany at the Unviersity of Melbourne
1932Doctor of Science (DSc) received from the University of Melbourne
1942Head of the Pollen Research Unit at the University of Melbourne
1947Keynote speaker at the opening of the Birbal Sahni Institue of Paelaeobotany in Lucknow, India
1948 - 1949Leverhulme Researcher at the University of Manschester
1952Research Fellow in the School of Botany at the Unviersity of Melbourne
1952 - 1963Senior Lecturer in Botany at the Unviersity of Melbourne
1957Corrosponding member of the Botanical Society of America
1959 - Life member of the Royal Society of Victoria
1959Retirement (official)
1959 - 1962Honorary Associate at the National Museum of Victoria


Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields.Prepared by: Annette Alafaci
Created: 20 October 1993
Modified: 13 January 2005

Published by The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre on ASAPWeb, 1994 - 2007
Originally published 1994-1999 by Australian Science Archives Project, 1999-2006 by the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre
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Updated: 26 February 2007

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