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Ref No UR-SF 34
Title Professor Robert Percival Cook, Lecturer in Biochemistry, University College, Dundee and Queen's College, Dundee; Professor of Biochemistry, University of Dundee
Date 1847-2000
Description Undergraduate Notes and Postgraduate Research Notes written by Cook. 1926-1947; Papers re Research Students supervised or externally examined by Cook, 1944-1972; Notes for Undergraduate Lectures by Cook, 1925-1973; Notes for Public Lectures given by Cook, 1942-1949; Scientific Publications of Robert P. Cook, 1926-1974; Records re books by Cook, c 1938-1974; Correspondence and Papers of Robert P. Cook. 1920-1990; Academic business abroad and in the UK, including International Congresses, 1937-1988; Scientific Papers re Nutrition, 1913-1962; Scientific Papers re Pathological Conditions, 1930-1976; Scientific Papers re Lipids, c 1929-1968; Scientific Papers re Metabolism, 1927-1964; Scientific Papers re Antibiotics, 1927-1987; Papers re Industrial Biochemistry, c 1917-1964; Papers re Scientific Methods, 1943-1971; Dental Papers, 1941-1958; Biochemistry Department Records, c 1900-2000; Historical Records re Queen's College/University of Dundee, 1883-1998; Biochemistry in Dundee, c 1950-1993; Biochemical Society Records, 1926 - 1989; Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 1970 - 1972; Other Publications, 1847-1989; Audio Tapes, 1972; Photographs & Glass Plate Negatives, 1925-1984; Biochemistry Department Plans, 1963 - 1970; Newspaper clippings, 1930-1979; Personal effects, 1913-1998
Level Fonds
Extent c 9.5 linear metres
Access Status Open
Access Conditions Subject to condition & format of material
Language English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Czech
Creator Name Robert Percival Cook (1906-1989)
Admin History Robert P. Cook, M.B., B.Chir., Ph.D. (Cambridge), B.Sc. (Melbourne), F.R.S.E., was born in Melbourne, Australia, on 14 April 1906. He was educated at Trinity Grammar School, Kew and Scotch College, Melbourne, and attended the University of Melbourne, 1922-1925, graduating with a B.Sc. In April 1926 he entered the Department of Pharmacology, University of London, to work with Professor A.J. Clark. In October of that year he went to Cambridge, and worked in the Biochemical Laboratory with Professor Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins. He then spent some time at L'Institut Pasteur, in Paris, where he met his wife, Matilda. He then returned to Cambridge and, in 1930, received his Ph.D. The years from June 1932 to August 1935 were spent in industry, working on citric acid. In October 1935, he returned once more to Cambridge and 1938 began studying medicine.

In 1940 Cook took up his first post at what was then University College, Dundee (from 1954 Queen's College, Dundee and from 1967 the University of Dundee) in the then Department of Physiology, renamed, on Cook's suggestion, the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry. During this time, he received his D.Sc. (1942) and M.B., B.Chir. (1944). Over the next 30 years he would become a well-known member of the academic community in Dundee. His wartime research concerned nutritional values of foods in local institutions, and later he became an international authority on cholesterol, editing a definitive book and pursuing widely-quoted research, much of which he carried out on himself. He was rumoured to have consumed 12-egg omelettes, prepared by his wife, in order to measure blood and excretory values.

Cook's work ultimately paved the way for Dundee to become a major centre for life sciences teaching and research. In March 1966, largely thanks to Cook's endeavours over many years, full departmental status was given to Biochemistry with Cook as head of the much expanded department. He also played a key role in the development of the new Biological Sciences Institute which would house the new department and provide excellent facilities for it. Cook's efforts also led to the founding of a Chair in Biochemistry, but he refused to be considered for this post as he felt a younger outside candidate was needed. Nevertheless in January 1972, Cook was elected to a personal Chair in Biochemistry. In 1973 became Emeritus Professor following his retirement on health grounds.

Cook retained a strong interest in Australia and was also also a collector of stamps and other postal material.

He died in Dundee on 26 August 1989 and was survived by his wife and children.


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