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Visiting NASA Mission Control Center, Houston


Experiencing my first tornado
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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Talking about having the phone in the room reminded me that on one occasion there was a general announcement of a tornado coming through, and I didn’t quite realise the implication of that until everyone said, you leave your windows open, you go down to the basement. Everyone in the married quarters dorms were sort of little prefabs on campus. They all came in down to the basement. This tornado came through. We all now know what tornadoes can be like but... and fortunately it passed near Flint which was about seven miles away. It didn’t come closer than that and touch down through campus, but they took that very seriously, and campus policemen were roaming around campus checking that everyone was out of sight.

On another occasion, they rang me in the middle of the night and I... there was a car park, a multi-storey car park that I used because I was hiring a car, of course, to move about and they said, you’ve left your lights on. They of course had the number plate. They knew where I was staying so I could go back and switch off the lights from the car. Well, that was Michigan State.

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: USA, Michigan State University

Duration: 1 minute, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011