Norman Greenwood (1925-2012) was born in Australia and graduated from Melbourne University before going to Cambridge. His wide-ranging research in inorganic and structural chemistry made major advances in the chemistry of boron hydrides and other main-group element compounds. He also pioneered the application of Mössbauer spectroscopy to problems in chemistry. He was a prolific writer and inspirational lecturer on chemical and educational themes, and held numerous visiting professorships throughout the world.
One interesting anecdote, we were going through the Great Park next to the Tiananmen Square in the Forbidden City, and I felt we were being followed, and I asked... it was a graduate student who had been with me in Leeds that was showing us round, I said, ‘Is this chap following us?’ So he went back and he asked this man what he was doing, in Chinese. And it turned out that he was a professor of physics, but he wanted to improve his English, so he realised that we were talking English and he was following discreetly behind to learn English. So I said, ‘Well ask him to join us, that’s fine’, and he was overcome but, and joined us. It was quite an astonishing insight into the will of people, if they wanted to do something they were totally committed to it.
Professor Brian FG Johnson FRS, FRSE, FRS Chem, FAcad Eu, FAS. Professor of Inorganic Chemistry University of Edinburgh 1991-1995, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry University of Cambridge 1995-2005, Master Fitzwilliam College Cambridge 1999-2005. Research interests include studies of transition metal carbonyls, organometallic chemistry, nano- particles and homogeneous catalysis. Professor Johnson is the author of over 1000 research articles and papers.