Voelcker, John Augustus

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b. 24 June 1854 Cirencester, England
d. 1937 England
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English agricultural chemist.
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John Augustus Voelcker, as the son of Dr John Christopher Voelcker, grew up in an atmosphere of scientific agriculture and would have had contact with the leading agriculturists of the day. He was educated at University College School and then University College, London, where he obtained both a BA and a BSc Following in his father's footsteps, he studied for his PhD at Giessen University in Germany. At college he enjoyed athletics, an interest he was to pursue for the rest of his life. He decided to take up agricultural chemistry and was to succeed to all the public offices once held by his father, from whom he also took over the directorship of Woburn Farm. The experimental farm had been started in 1876 and was used to study the residual effects of chemicals in the soil. The results of these studies were used as the basis for compensation awards to tenant farmers giving up their farms. Voelcker broadened the range of studies to include trace elements in the soil, but by 1921 the Royal Agricultural Society of England had decided to give up the farm. This was a blow to Voelcker and occurred just before experiments elsewhere highlighted the importance of these elements to healthy plant growth. He continued the research at his own expense until the Rothampsted Experimental Station took over the farm in 1926. Aside from his achievements in Britain, Voelcker undertook a study tour of India in 1890, the report on which led to the appointment of an Agricultural Chemist, and the establishment of a scientific service for the Indian subcontinent.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
President, Royal Society of Public Analysts. Member of Council, Chemical Society, and Institute of Chemistry. Chairman, Farmers' Club.
Bibliography
Most of his publications were in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, for which he wrote an annual report, and in another series of reports relating to Woburn Farm. The Improvements of Indian Agriculture was the result of his tour in 1890.
Further Reading
J.H.Gilbert, 1937, obituary Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, pp. 464–8.
Sir E.John Russell, A History of Agricultural Science in Great Britain.
AP

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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