W Smithfield, London EC1A 7BE, United Kingdom
On leaving school in 1883, Blackman entered St. Bartholomew’s Hospital to train as a doctor.
Blackman was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1908.
St John's College, St John's Street, Cambridge CB2 1TP, United Kindom
In 1885 - 1887 Frederick Blackman accepted an opportunity to read science at St. John’s College, Cambridge.
St John's College, St John's Street, Cambridge CB2 1TP, United Kindom
Blackman was appointed a university demonstrator in botany in 1891 and continued as a member of the botany school until he retired from his readership in 1936.
(Originally published in 1954, this collection of the post...)
Originally published in 1954, this collection of the posthumous papers of the eminent plant physiologist Frederick Frost Blackman includes six papers that were unpublished at the time of his death, all of which address the topic of plant respiration. The data was collected over the course of one year from experiments performed on the effect of oxygen on the respiration of apples, and the text begins with an introduction by the noted botanist George Edward Briggs.
Frederick Blackman spent his school days at Mill Hill, where he started a herbarium. On leaving school in 1883, Blackman entered St. Bartholomew’s Hospital to train as a doctor. Although his studies were highly satisfactory - he graduated Bachelor of Science. In the subsequent years, he studied natural sciences at the University of Cambridge and was awarded a Doctor of Science.
Frederick Frost Blackman was a British plant physiologist. He researched plant physiology, in particular, photosynthesis, in Cambridge until his retirement in 1936.
In 1885-1887 he accepted an opportunity to read science at St. John’s College, Cambridge. In 1895 he was elected to fellowship of his college, which he retained until his death.
Blackman was appointed a university demonstrator in botany in 1891 and continued as a member of the botany school until he retired from his readership in 1936. He assumed a full share of the administrative work of the department, including the extension of the buildings in 1933. Everything he did was done with meticulous care, and he inspired others to do likewise. When in recognition of the active school of plant physiology that he had developed from the basis laid down by his predecessors S. H. Vines and Francis Darwin, a subdepartment of plant physiology was created in 1931 with the aid of a grant from the Rockefeller Fund, Blackman naturally became its head and, but for technicalities regarding retirement age (resulting from the university statutes of 1926), he would have become the first professor of plant physiology at Cambridge.
Blackman was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1908 and was awarded a Royal Medal in 1921. Outside the botany school, he served the university in various ways, including many years as a member of the Fitzwilliam Museum Syndicate. From 1901 to 1936 he was a member of the board of the Cambridge Instrument Company, which was started by Horace Darwin, brother of Francis, who had preceded Blackman as a reader in botany.
Blackman’s first two botanical papers appeared in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1895. They began a series entitled “Experimental Researches in Vegetable Assimilation and Respiration,” which was continued by him and his pupils until 1933. As early as 1832 it had been suggested that most of the gaseous exchange between the leaves of a plant and the surrounding atmosphere takes place through the stomata. For a long time, this was much disputed, and it was not accepted until convincing experimental evidence was produced by Blackman. The first paper described an apparatus for measuring the carbon dioxide in gaseous mixtures.
In 1904 the third paper in the series, by Blackman’s pupil G. L. C. Matthaei, demonstrated that temperature had little effect on the rate of carbon assimilation at low intensities of illumination, while at high intensities the effect was comparable with that of many chemical reactions. This work directed Blackman’s thoughts along lines that resulted in the publication of his classic paper “Optima and Limiting Factors” (1905). The terms “limiting factor” and “bottleneck” were not on the lips of biologists at that time. This paper is that of a pioneer in the application of physicochemical ideas to biological problems, a pioneer not unaware of the complexities of such problems.
Blackman later turned his attention to plant respiration. In 1928 three papers appeared dealing with part of the investigations his pupil P. Parija had made on the effect of the partial pressure of oxygen on the production of carbon dioxide by apples. Other papers were published with the assistance of a former pupil, J. Barker, after Blackman’s death. The third paper of 1928, under Blackman’s name, gives his interpretation of the complicated set of results analyzed in the previous papers. On the assumption that the products of glycolysis underwent fermentation to carbon dioxide and alcohol or complete oxidation to carbon dioxide and water, he deduced that glycolysis in air is more nearly complete than in nitrogen. Because the production of carbon dioxide in nitrogen was much more than one-third of that in air, he concluded there must be yet another fate for the products of glycolysis, which he called “oxidative anabolism.”
Under Blackman’s guidance, his pupils carried out investigations on sugar content, rate of oxygen consumption, and composition of the atmosphere in the intercellular spaces of apples, in an attempt to complete the respiratory picture for this plant organ. Unfortunately, the work did not progress further than doctoral theses, now in the University Library at Cambridge.
(Originally published in 1954, this collection of the post...)1954
Blackman’s published papers are not numerous. Although his mind was quick, he was not hurried over the planning of his experiments and the devising and perfecting of the apparatus; neither was he hurried in the contemplation of the results and the search for a just interpretation of them. He took great pains over the preparation of a paper; such was the standard he set himself that several papers, which in 1935 had reached a stage that would have satisfied many, were not published until after his death. Many papers by pupils in his laboratory bear his stamp if not his name.
Quotations: "The raison d'être of the apparatus is to be found in the perfection of details and their adaptation so that all the various processes can be performed with the minimum of error, time, and labor...”
Frederick Blackman was elected in May 1906 a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Blackman played an active part in the life of St. John’s, where he lived until 1917, holding the office of steward from 1908 to 1914. As an undergraduate, his interests included music and pictures, and the college later benefited from his advice in aesthetic matters.
Frederick Blackman was married in 1917.