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Papers of Guido Pontecorvo, research photos and slides

20th century
UGC 198/6
Part of
Papers of Guido Pellegrino Arrigo Pontecorvo, geneticist, Professor of Genetics, University of Glasgow, Scotland
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About this work



Genetics research slides, including sldies of Aspergillus cultures and PEG cell fusion and slides used by Pontecorvo for a lecture on the history of genetics;

Photographic slides of alpine plants, mountainous areas, and local residents, places and tourist attractions, taken by Pontecorvo during his trips to places like Colaroado, Washington, Hawaii, Mexico, Brazil, India, China, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy, Iran, Peru and Sri Lanka;

Photograph slides taken around Scotland and in the area surrounding Pontecorvo's Swiss chalet in St Luc;

Large collection of photographic slides of alpine plants taken by Pontecorvo in various locations around the world for research which he used to illustrate lectures and for research for the book he was writing on plants at high altitudes.

This description is part of the main Guido Pontecorvo collection which has been divided into the following sections, each with its own separate description:
UGC 198/1, biographical material;
UGC 198/2, career and appointments;
UGC 198/3, genetics research correspondence;
UGC 198/4, alpine research correspondence;
UGC 198/5, material relating to research trips abroad;
UGC 198/6, research slides;
UGC 198/7, publications;
UGC 198/8, lectures and broadcasts;
UGC 198/9, personal and family material;
UGC 198/10, personal photographs and slides.

The Wellcome Library does not hold a digitised copy of UGC 198/6/2 as part of Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics. Only UGC 198/6/1 has been digitised. Items from UGC 198/6/2 can be viewed in the searchroom at Archive Services, University of Glasgow. Please visit the Glasgow University Archive Services website or see the complete catalogue for full details.


20th century

Physical description

approx 1 metres


Arranged chronologically within record series.

Biographical note

Guido Pellegrino Arrigo Pontecorvo (1907-1999), who liked to be known by his nickname, Ponte, was an Italian geneticist who became the University of Glasgow's first Professor of Genetics in 1955, and has been described as "one of the founding fathers of modern genetics". He endowed prizes and scholarships for students at the University and the Genetics Building was named for him in 1995. Born and educated in Pisa, Pontecorvo was forced to leave Italy in 1938 and settled in Scotland. He was appointed a lecturer in Genetics at the University's Zoology Department in 1945, and a new department was set up in the Anatomy laboratories of the Anderson College building soon afterwards. He became a Reader in 1952, three years before his appointment to the new Chair. He left Glasgow in 1968 to take a post at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund's laboratories in London. Pontecorvo was one of the leading figures of his day in the study of of cell genetics. For a more detailed biography see the full Pontecorvo collection description.

Aside from genetics Pontecorvo's life long passion was alpine plant photography and ecology. He set aside each summer for pursuits to some of the world's most spectacular alpine regions, and his collection contains thousands of slides of alpine flowers and their habitats which he was using to research a book on plants at high altitudes (sadly this was never finished). He visited various mountains and national parks in the USA in the 1950s and 1960s, in the 1970s he travelled to Iran to study the flora of the Fars region and Mt Elburz. He explored the Himalayas in India and the Tien Shan and Kunlun mountains in China in the 1980s. These trips were organized with the help of The Royal Society or at the invitation of local academies and were often combined with lecture tours and courses. Ponte often made excursions to mountains a precondition for accepting invitations.

Related material

GB 0248 UGC 198/4 contains Pontecorvo's alpine plant research correspondence.

GB 0248 UGC 198/5 contains correspondence and papers relating to Pontecorvo's research trips abroad.

GB 0248 UGC 198/8, lecture notes for genetics and alpine related lectures and seminars Pontecorvo gave at institutions at home and abroad. Some of the research slides in this section were used in Pontecorvo's lectures.

Copyright note

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to: Duty Archivist, Archive Services, University of Glasgow, 13 Thurso Street, Glasgow, G11 6PE, or email

Terms of use

Open and available at Glasgow University Archives Service.

Appraisal note

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures

Location of duplicates

A digitised copy is held by the Wellcome Library as part of Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics. Not all items in this section have been digitised.


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