Charlotte Auerbach

Professor Charlotte Auerbach (Krefeld 1899 – Edinburgh 1994) is renowned for her profound knowledge of classical genetics and for the discovery in 1941 that mustard gas can cause gene mutations. Like many scientists working at the University of Edinburgh in the second half of the twentieth century, Auerbach came to Scotland after the 1933 laws prevented her from teaching. Persuaded to leave Germany by her mother, she made her way to Edinburgh, where she settled and spent the rest of her life. Her mother succeeded in reaching Edinburgh two weeks before the outbreak of war. The two women survived on Auerbach’s very meager salary, living in cramped quarters and sharing facilities with other refugee families. Auerbach was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Royal Society in London. She was awarded numerous honours and prizes including the Royal Society’s Darwin Medal. credit: © The Royal Society