Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Martin Gibbs (1922–2006): Pioneer of 14C research, sugar metabolism & photosynthesis; vigilant Editor-in-Chief of Plant Physiology; sage Educator; and humanistic Mentor

  • Clanton C. BlackJr.Email author


The very personal touch of Professor Martin Gibbs as a worldwide advocate for photosynthesis and plant physiology was lost with his death in July 2006. Widely known for his engaging humorous personality and his humanitarian lifestyle, Martin Gibbs excelled as a strong international science diplomat; like a personal science family patriarch encouraging science and plant scientists around the world. Immediately after World War II he was a pioneer at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in the use of 14C to elucidate carbon flow in metabolism and particularly carbon pathways in photosynthesis. His leadership on carbon metabolism and photosynthesis extended for four decades of working in collaboration with a host of students and colleagues. In 1962, he was selected as the Editor-in-Chief of Plant Physiology. That appointment initiated 3 decades of strong directional influences by Gibbs on plant research and photosynthesis. Plant Physiology became and remains a premier source of new knowledge about the vital and primary roles of plants in earth’s environmental history and the energetics of our green-blue planet. His leadership and charismatic humanitarian character became the quintessence of excellence worldwide. Martin Gibbs was in every sense the personification of a model mentor not only for scientists but also shown in devotion to family. Here we pay tribute and honor to an exemplary humanistic mentor, Martin Gibbs.


Martin Gibbs CO2 fixation Gibbs effect Triose phosphate dehydrogenases Photophosphorylation Light intensity CO2 compensation point 14C-sugar labeling Photorespiration Oxyhydrogen reaction Mentoring Sugar metabolism Chloroplast respiration Glycolate synthesis 



This tribute was written at the invitation of Govindjee, who was in regular e-mail contact with Martin for several years, till his death, discussing various historical aspects of photosynthesis research. Govindjee, who is a great admirer of Martin, has also edited this manuscript. I also thank Gerry Berkowitz, Tony San Pietro, Garth Everson, Louise Anderson, Grahame Kelly, and Mike Robinson for reading this manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry & Molecular BiologyThe University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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