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Boron hydride


Aluminium hydride
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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Aluminium hydride is not an easy compound to work with, and has a very complex structure, but it also forms – and we found ways of making it – complexes. So you could add a ligand onto aluminium hydride, and one that Malcolm Wallbridge and I, with Allan Storr worked on was one molecule of ammonia onto aluminium hydride made a tetrahedral complex. You can put a second molecule on, which makes it five co-ordinate, and I think this was the first, or one of the first, five co-ordinate aluminium compounds that there were. And gallium hydride did the same. That was unusual.

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: Malcolm Wallbridge, Allan Storr

Duration: 48 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011