Professor David Jenkinson FRS has died after a short illness. He was born in Hollywood Hospital, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles in 25 February, 1928. After the slump and stock-market crash, the family returned to run a small farm in County Armagh in 1932. He attended the Royal School, Armagh for 6 years from 1940 as a day boy. In 1957 he joined Rothamsted Experimental Station, UK, where he remained until his retirement in 1988. He was an internationally respected soil scientist, whose research has been influential in setting patterns of thinking in a diverse range of areas including food security and global climate change. He was scientifically active for many years after his formal retirement, through research at Rothamsted and as a Visiting Professor in soil science at the University of Reading. He published over 170 scientific articles including over 100 in refereed journals, many of which have been highly cited. During the 1960s, David was among the first soil scientists to exploit the use of radioactive carbon labelling to study the transformation of plant residues entering soil. This work eventually led to the development of a technique for measuring the soil microorganisms as a single entity (termed the soil microbial biomass). It was a revolutionary step, leading to new understanding of microbial ecology in soils. It also led to one of the very first soil carbon models (termed RothC) to accurately predict future changes in soil organic carbon caused by different farming practices in soils under different climatic and soil conditions. It is still used today, worldwide. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of the value of long-term field studies in agricultural and environmental science and used their unique data frequently in his research. David was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991 in recognition of his outstanding research in soil science,. He was also made an Honorary Member of the Soil Science Society of America in 1995 and of the British Society of Soil Science in 2007. He received the Massey Ferguson National Agricultural Award in 1993 for his work on increasing the efficiency of use of nitrogen in agriculture. He is survived by his wife, Moira, sons Hugh, Philip and Robert, daughter Maeve and seven grandchildren.
Student at The Royal School 1940 – 1946 – Form VI; Literary and Debating Society, 1944-46; Scientific Society, 1943-46; Secretary of Scientific Society, 1945-46; Sizarship in Experimental Science, 1946; Rokeby House.