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Being a tourist in India


Souvenir from the Taj Mahal
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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We’ve all of course seen the iconic pictures of the Taj Mahal gleaming white on its superb site, but what took me completely by surprise was that when you get right up to it, it is not pure white at all. There are huge panels decorated all the way around of inset precious stones into the marble and you can see here lapis lazuli and onyx and all sorts of semi-precious stones which have been inlaid and this was something that I bought at the time in the tourist area being made by craftsmen who have carried on the crafts of doing this beautiful artwork and of course inside the building and in its associated buildings there are also some beautiful parts. It is really an indescribably beautiful place, not only for the elegance of the architecture but this feeling of ineffable calm that you get when you view it.


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: Taj Mahal, India

Duration: 1 minute, 16 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011