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Robert Plot (13 December 1640April 30 1696) was an Englishmarker naturalist, first Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxfordmarker, and the first keeper of the Ashmolean Museummarker.

Born in Borden, Kentmarker, he was educated and subsequently taught at Magdalen Hall, Oxford before moving to University Collegemarker in 1676. He was a mature commoner at University College and donated a statue of King Alfred to the College (erroneously believed to be the founder of the College).

Plot is known for looking for natural curiosities in several English counties, and for writing Natural History of Oxfordshire in which he described the fossilised femur of a giant (now known to be from the dinosaur Megalosaurus) and Natural History of Staffordshire, in which he describes a double sunset.

In 1677, he became a fellow of the Royal Society as a result of his exhibition of minerals, and in 1682 became the society's Secretary, and joint editor of the Philosophical Transactions (144 - 178) . In the field of chemistry he searched for a universal solvent that could be obtained from wine spirits, and believed that alchemy was necessary for medicine. After 1686, Plot focused more on archaeology, but misinterpreted Roman remains as Saxon. He stressed the unusual; he studied echoes in order to learn about air, mineral waters, and recognised types of earth in layers, but believed that fossil shellfish were coincidental mineral crystallisations, and that some spring water must originate from the sea flowing through underground channels.

This office of Mowbray Herald Extraordinary was created in January 1695 for Plot, who was made Registrar of the College of Armsmarker just two days later.

Plot died in Borden, the village of his birth.

Notes and references

  1. A. J. Turner, ‘Plot, Robert (bap. 1640, d. 1696)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  2. Plot 1705
  3. leekonline
  4. A. J. Turner, ‘Plot, Robert (bap. 1640, d. 1696)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  5. Plot 1705 Page 144:




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