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The first open day at Leeds University


Open days
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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One aspect which became complete... well very important was the external relations of the university – crudely put, publicity. The Chancellor at this stage was Lord Boyle and he was Chancellor in fact for much of the time that I was at Leeds and we had a very good working relationship. When the university rejigged itself we decided there should be, in fact, a body which was concerned with relations of people outside the university and Boyle asked me if I would be chairman of this committee which I was happy to do. One aspect of this, which I’m quite pleased worked out well, was in having open days.

Now, in Melbourne University, where I came from originally, open days were a very highly regarded aspect. It was a day when the university was thrown open to the general public. People would come in, walk around the departments and do... find out what was going on. It was very helpful for senior school children, for teachers but also parents were interested and the general public who, of course for obvious reasons, had very little idea of what a university was. And we talked about this and there was surprising opposition to the idea of an open day at Leeds University to start with, but I persisted and several people on the External Relations Committee agreed with what I was trying to do and gave me very enthusiastic support and finally Senate approved that they would have an Open Day which we had.

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: Leeds University, Melbourne University, Edward Boyle, Baron Boyle of Handsworth

Duration: 2 minutes, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011