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Payne, S.M. (1956). Sir Arthur George Tansley, F.R.S. 1871–1955. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 37:197.

(1956). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 37:197

Sir Arthur George Tansley, F.R.S. 1871–1955

S. M. Payne

Sir Arthur George Tansley, F.R.S., who died on 25 November, 1955, at Cambridge, at the age of 84, was a scientist of widely ranging interests. His main scientific interest and his original work was the study of communities of plants and animals, and he was the acknowledged founder of the science of ecology. He was Sherardian Professor of Botany from 1927 to 1937, and Chairman of the Nature Conservancy from 1949 to 1953. In 1927 he was elected a Fellow of Magdalen, Oxford, and an Hon. Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1944.

This distinguished man, whose original work led him to recognize communities in plants and animals, a discovery which might be regarded as on the threshold of psychology, was one of the few scientists who acknowledged the significance of Freud's work as soon as it was published. In 1920 he made the experiment of interpreting Freudian theories in biological terms, and published a book called The New Psychology. Subsequently he went to Vienna and worked with Freud before becoming Sherardian Professor of Botany. On his return to England he was elected in 1924 an associate member and, in 1926, a member of the British Psycho-Analytical Society, and maintained an interest in psycho-analysis to the end of his life. He was unable to take an active part in psycho-analysis owing to the absorbing interest of his research work and his teaching at the Universities, but always gave his support when an occasion arose.

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