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My graduate students: Peter Perkins and Ian Worrell


Work with Ken Wade as my first PhD student
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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I was very lucky in my first year to have as a graduate student Ken Wade. He was my first PhD. Up until now everything that I’ve been talking about has been done in principle under supervision; I was learning my trade; I was doing original work, of course, and I was given a free hand by my supervisors, but essentially, it was guided research and I benefited by that. Now I was the boss; I had to have some ideas to suggest to other people to work on. Ken Wade was my first graduate student and you will know, Brian, that Ken has made an enormous contribution to several areas of chemistry, not the least in boron hydrides which we’ll be saying more about later, and the rules that enable you to deduce quite rapidly and quickly and simply what the structures... and they’re pretty weird structures, some of them... but Wade’s Rules are very valuable.

Now, Ken came to me and we started working, not on boron trifluoride, but on boron trichloride and tribromide and then, missing out aluminium because that was well studied, on gallium halides. And Ken was working with me on gallium halide coordination compounds. We did some nice work on that, a lot of publications as well as I’d got with Ray Martin in the boron trifluoride work.

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.

Listeners: Brian Johnson

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.

Tags: Wade's Rules, Ken Wade, Ray Martin

Duration: 1 minute, 47 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011