A. T . (‘Tony’) James first came to scientific prominence in the 1950s while working with A. J. P. Martin at the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research, London, for demonstrating the practicality of gas–liquid chromatography. This technique enabled the separation and analysis of complex mixtures of closely related volatile compounds down to microgram amounts. The method was rapidly taken up by research laboratories and industrial organizations worldwide. James himself used the technique to study lipid biosynthesis, first in plants and later in animal tissues; he established at the Unilever Research Laboratory Colworth House one of the premier lipid biochemistry groups in the world. As his administrative and managerial duties increased, he established himself as a leader in UK science policy, being an advocate for the better funding of biological research through his work for several research councils.
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