Acclaimed Harpenden scientist dies

AN internationally respected soil scientist from Harpenden has passed away after a short illness.

Professor David Jenkinson, who lived and worked in the town for more than 50 years, had been influential in setting patterns of thinking in a diverse range of areas including food security and global climate change.

He was a long-standing member of staff at Rothamsted Research, starting as a scientific officer in the Pedology Department in 1957 and retiring from the Soil Science Department in 1988.

But he remained scientifically active for many years after his formal retirement, through research at Rothamsted and as a visiting professor at Reading University.

Professor Jenkinson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991 in recognition of his outstanding research in soil science and he was also made an Honorary Member of the Soil Science Society of America in 1995 and of the British Society of Soil Science in 2007.

He received the Massey Ferguson National Agricultural Award in 1993 for his work on increasing the efficiency of nitrogen use in agriculture and, more recently, a newly constructed building at Rothamsted was named in his honour.

Born in Los Angeles in 1928, his family returned to their native Northern Ireland in 1932 after the Great Crash and Professor Jenkinson was educated in Ireland at the Royal School, Armagh and at Trinity College Dublin.

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He is survived by his wife, Moira whom he met in Dublin.

They married in St Albans and lived in Harpenden throughout their married life and had four children – Hugh, Philip, Maeve and Robert.

They have been described as a happy couple who shared a deep love for each other, their children and grandchildren as well as having many other interests in common.