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The diverse group working on Mössbauer spectroscopy


Exciting work on the lunar rocks
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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Perhaps the most intriguing work that we did at that stage – and Arthur Howe did this – was some of the returned lunar rocks. As you probably know, the Russians had sent spaceships to the Moon, not men but spaceships. They mechanically dug up some of the lunar regolith and took that back to Earth... the so called Lunar Program that they had... and we acquired some of their samples to look at, and certainly the NASA samples we had ready access to because Keith Runcorn, who was the Professor of Physics, was already on the NASA team and gave me an introduction there and he was able to get me as a senior investigator so we had all of the Apollo mission samples.

One thing we did do at a later stage I went to one of the Apollo lunar launches, and that was just an extraordinary experience. I can’t elaborate on it really but... unless you’ve been there you have no concept of what the size of these things is, what the power of it is, what the impact of seeing these is.

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: Russia, USSR, NASA, Apollo, Apollo program, Arthur Howe, Keith Runcorn

Duration: 1 minute, 41 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011