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Papers of Guido Pellegrino Arrigo Pontecorvo, alpine plant research correspondence

UGC 198/4
Part of
Papers of Guido Pellegrino Arrigo Pontecorvo, geneticist, Professor of Genetics, University of Glasgow, Scotland
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work



Correspondence relating to Pontecorvo's alpine research, c1950s-1990s;

Draft manuscript and correspondence between Pontecorvo and the Oxford University Press about research for his book on alpine plants, c1970s-1990s;

Notes and photographs relating to Pontecorvo's research on snow cover in the Swiss Alps, c1970-1996.

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 198/4 as part of Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics. Items from UGC 198/4 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.



Physical description

0.15 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 198/6/2 contains boxes of slides of alpine plants and flowers and their habitats, taken by Pontecorvo over a number of years in vatious locations around the world.

GB 0248 UGC 198/7 contains some of Pontecorvo's publications on apline plants and habitats

GB 0248 UGC 198/8 contains Pontecorvo's notes on lectures about alpine plants and habitats.

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. Duplicates were removed.


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