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JS Anderson


Benefits of coming top of the class
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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But fortunately again for us in the final year, as I told you, you could take two parts, that was the first part of organic. The second part of organic was much bigger and more difficult but fortunately, to use a euphemism, because of the unsettled times, which was dropping a bomb on Hiroshima, the war came to an end. And because the war... well the war hadn’t actually come to an end, it was before the armistice was signed with the Japanese and the war was ended, but the place was in a turmoil. And so the lecturers in chemistry decided that they would not run the practical exam, it was too unsettling for everyone, so they just cancelled it. So as a result of these two bits of luck, and working hard, I was able to come top in the final year, as indeed I had done in second year, so Abe’s prediction was correct, he’d spotted that one well, and I got one or two prizes that were going for the top student at that stage. But it also meant, of course, that of the final graduating class I would have the first choice of Research Supervisor, if he would have me.

So, a couple of the lecturers had, in fact, approached me to ask would I be interested and I said well I hadn’t made up my mind. But then I approached Stuart Anderson, JS as we always called him, and he said yes, he’d take me on. And, as it so happened, Ray Martin, my great friend and later collaborator when we came to Cambridge, and Judge Bevan, who later landed up in Perth and then in Adelaide as Head of Chemistry, they also worked with Stuart Anderson.

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: WWII, Hiroshima, Japan, University of Cambridge, Perth, The University of Western Australia, The University of Adelaide, Abe Yoffe, JS Anderson, Ray Martin, DJM Bevan

Duration: 2 minutes, 6 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011