Papers of Guido Pellegrino Arrigo Pontecorvo, career and appointments

Scope and Content

  • Correspondence between Pontecorvo and Principal Hector Hetherington concering the Department of Genetics at the University of Glasgow, 1947-1958;
  • Correspondence and presscutting relating to Pontecorvo's appointment as the first Professor of Genetics at the University of Glasgow, 1955;
  • Research reports compiled by visitors to the Department of Genetics at the University of Glasgow, 1950-1968;
  • Correspondence relating to Pontecorvo's career and appointments held at the Ispettorato Compartimentale Agrario in Italy, the Institute of Animal Genetics, the University of Glasgow, and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, 1939-1975;
  • Correspondence relating to positions offered to Pontecorvo in academic institutions in the UK and abroad, including the University of Cambridge, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Harvard University,and Leiden University, 1946-1969.

This description is part of the main  Guido Pontecorvo collection which has been divided into the following sections, each with its own separate description:  

Administrative / Biographical History

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.


Pontecorvo kept this correspondence in bundles relating to specific appointments or institutions. The University of Glasgow Department of Genetics correspondence was originally kept in a folder with other personal correspondence, and the visitors' research reports were kept separately, but a decision was made to bring this material together in one related sub-series.

Files relating to positions held and positions offered were organised into bundles of related correspondence and this order has been maintained in the catalogue.

Conditions Governing Access


Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures. Duplicates have been removed.

Related Material

GB 248 GEN, University of Glasgow, Institute of Genetics, including correspondence about the new building for the Institute of Genetics, student records, lectures, teaching slides, and Department guestbook.


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and National Council on Archives,Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Collection catalogued by Gemma Tougher, Assistant Archivist (Cataloguing) from February 2011 to August 2011. Converted to Encoded Archival Description by Gemma Tougher, Assistant Archivist (Cataloguing) January 2012.

Geographical Names