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Biographical entry Watson, Irvine Armstrong (1914 - 1986)


31 March 1914
Parkes, New South Wales, Australia
1 March 1986
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Agricultural scientist


Irvine Watson was Professor of Agricultural Botany, (Plant Breeding) University of Sydney from 1962-1977. He was a world leader in wheat research and a major contributor to the Australian wheat industry, being associated with the development and release of no less than 16 new high quality rust-resistant wheats.


Born Parkes, New South Wales, 31 March 1914. Died Sydney, 1 March 1986. CBE 1977. Educated Universities of Sydney (BscAgr (Hons) 1938) and Minnesota (PhD 1941). Assistant Lecturer in Agriculture, University of Sydney 1938; Thomas Lawrence Pawlett Scholarship, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota, St Paul 1939-41; Assistant Lecturer in Agriculture, University of Sydney 1941-44, Lecturer in Agriculture 1944-46, Senior Lecturer in Agriculture 1946-55, head, Section of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Faculty of Agriculture 1952-65, Associate Professor in Genetics and Plant Breeding 1955-62; Research Associate, University of Minnesota, St Paul 1955-56; Professor of Agricultural Botany (Plant Breeding), University of Sydney 1962-65, Head of Department of Agricultural Botany 1966-76, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture 1966-67, Director of the Plant Breeding Institute and Head of the Department of Agricultural Botany 1974-77. Farrer Medal 1958; Fellow, Australian Institute of Agricultural Science 1964; Elvin Charles Stakman Award (USA) 1966; Commemorative Medal, International Wheat and Maize Improvement Centre, Mexico 1971; Foreign Member, Soviet Academy of Agricultural Science 1972; Fellow, Australian Academy of Science 1975; foundation Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences 1975; James Cook Medal, Royal Society of New South Wales 1975. The Northwest Wheat Research Institute was renamed the I.A. Watson Wheat Research Centre in 1977 in honour of his contribution to wheat improvement in Australia.


1975 - 1986
Award - Foundation Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences
1975 - 1986
Award - Fellow, Australian Academy of Science

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Published resources

Journal Articles

  • McIntosh, R. A. and Smith-White, S., 'Irvine Armstrong Watson 1914-1986', Historical Records of Australian Science, vol. 7, no. 4, 1989, pp. 405-415. Details
  • McIntosh, R. A., Mullins, M. G. C. and Deverall, B. J., 'Death of a distinguished plant pathologist', Australasian Plant Pathology, vol. 15, no. 2, 1986, pp. 48-9. Details

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Irvine Armstrong Watson


Rosanne Walker