• SSPF

Ernest Browning Forbes | 1934

Pioneer in animal nutrition, charter member of both the American Society of Animal Nutrition and the American Institute of Nutrition.

1876-1966 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)



Impact & Accomplishments


The American Society of Animal Science honored Ernest Forbes with a portrait for his role as an animal nutrition pioneer. Initially, Forbes followed in his father’s footsteps, earning a degree in zoology and working for the Illinois State Natural History Survey. He was an entomologist briefly before accepting a position as an assistant in animal husbandry at the University of Illinois.


He earned a second bachelor’s degree in agriculture, and then began to teach at the University of Missouri. In 1907, Forbes moved to the Ohio Experiment Station, as head of the new department of Animal Nutrition, earning his Ph.D. there in 1908. Dr. Forbes’ research focused on the roles of minerals in animal physiology, and he conducted particularly significant work on phosphorus metabolism.


After serving in World War I, Dr. Forbes worked for the United Chemical and Organic Products Company of Chicago and the Institute of American Meatpackers.


He returned to academia in 1922 to succeed Dr. Henry Armsby as director of the Institute of Animal Nutrition at Pennsylvania State College. There, he continued Dr. Armsby’s work with the respiration calorimeter and expanded nutritional studies with cattle and swine. He retired from Penn State in 1946, after publishing eighty-one scientific papers.


Dr. Forbes was a charter member of both the American Society of Animal Nutrition and the American Institute of Nutrition. He served on the first editorial board of the Journal of Nutrition and was a member of the original animal nutrition subcommittee of the National Research Council.


Did You Know?


There are still over 15 books that were written by Forbes that are still in print due to their cultural and historical significance.

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