Loss of noted Lincoln University scientist and teacher

Lincoln University has recorded the death of Emeritus Professor Reinhart Langer, doyen of modern plant science teaching and research and a scientist who made an immense contribution to plant and crop physiology, agronomy, ecology, genetics, and agricultural botany in a career at Lincoln University spanning more than quarter of a century.

Professor Langer came to Lincoln from Britain’s Grassland Research Institute, Hurley, in 1959 and built up a strong, busy Plant Science Department and team of staff members. Active and productive research programmes were developed in the  areas of white clover, subterranean clover, lucerne and pasture plants that thrive in Canterbury’s dry summer conditions.

Wheat was a particular interest and Professor Langer was a long-serving member and former Chair of the national Wheat Research Committee.

He was an important figure at Lincoln over more than quarter of a century in both his discipline area, and in Lincoln’s overall administration, through his roles as Vice-Principal and Acting Principal (equivalent today of Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Acting Vice-Chancellor).

As Acting Principal of the then Lincoln College, he spanned the year between the retirement of Professor Sir James Stewart and the installation of Professor Bruce Ross.

He authored several books and scientific articles and his publication Agricultural Plants, co-authored with Associate Professor George Hill, became a standard text for plant science teaching in New Zealand and overseas.

In 1978, for Lincoln’s centenary celebrations, Professor Langer had the distinction of being appointed the College’s Public Orator, a significant role in the conferring of honorary degrees on important figures in Christchurch Town Hall.

Professor Langer’s services to science, education, Lincoln College and the wider community (he was on the Board of Governors of Christ’s College for 27 years) were recognised with many awards and accolades including Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Fellow of the Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science, Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), and an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Lincoln University.

Source: Lincoln University

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