Robert Whatley conducted important studies on many aspects of photosynthesis. His early work concerned the methaemoglobin reducing factor, which was later recognised as ferredoxin. He then worked with leaf mitochondria in Australia, resulting in findings related to ATP synthesis. Joining Daniel Arnon in Berkeley, this background led to results concerning photophosphorylation in chloroplasts. He developed and initiated studies on cyclic photophosphorylation and the stoichiometry of electron transport via a ferredoxin programme, applying physicochemical methods such as electron spin resonance, and Mossbauer and circular dichroism spectrometry to this group of iron/sulfur proteins in order to understand their oxidation/reduction behaviour.
Professor Robert Whatley FRS died on 14 November 2020.