J P Hill Collection

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J. P Hill Biography

James Peter Hill was born on February 21 1873 in Scotland. In 1889 he entered University of Edinburgh and in 1890 he went to the Royal College of Science in London to participate in a program for teacher training. In 1892 Hill accepted a position as a demonstrator in Sydney, Australia. At this time he was in his teens, and " was, perhaps, the youngest who has ever received an appointment on the University staff" (J.T Wilson, "Hill an Appreciation").

Between 1892 and 1897 Hill, largely in collaboration with Wilson, published 12 papers, which included descriptions of early development of the platypus, marsupial placentation and the development of dentition in Perameles. Although Hill had made fundamental contributions to biology, he had not yet received an undergraduate degree, and in 1897 he received a leave of absence to return to The University of Edinburgh to receive his BSc. .

After receiving this degree, Hill returned to Australia in 1898 and continued work on early development of marsupials and monotremes. In 1906 he was named to the Jodrell Chair at University College of London and he returned to Great Britain. He was awarded a DSc from UCL.

Hill was elected to the Royal Society in 1913 and received its Darwin Medal in 1940. In 1921 Hill took over as Chair of Embryology and Histology of newly formed Department of Anatomy, UCL.

Hill retired in 1938, but continued to work at home. He died on May 24, 1954, at the age of 81. “He was busy at his microscope until the hour of his death”.

An appreciation of Hill's years at the University of Sydney was published in Hermes, the Magazine of the University of Sydney by J. T. Wilson; excerpts of this appreciation are available here.

Two biographical sketches of Hill have been published:

Watson, DMS and GR deBeer (1948) J.P. Hill. Journal of Anatomy 82: 2-8.

Watson, DMS (1955) James Peter Hill (1873-1954). Biographical Memoirs of the Royal Society. 1: 101-117.

collecting tripJ. T. Wilson, G Elliot Smith and J. P. Hill on collecting trip ~ 1898, Blue Mountains of Australia. courtsey Archives of the University of Sydney.


JP Hill Biography

JP Hill: An appreciation

JP Hill and the Neural Crest

Material in the Neural Crest study


The Hill embryological collection

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