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'Much to be admired and learned from Japan'


'Monstrous' Tokyo
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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Then we went on a trip around exquisite coastal scenery, unbelievably beautiful, to Tokyo, which I have to say, is a monstrous city in all senses of the word. It is huge, many millions of people, has excellent services, sometimes half a dozen independent railway lines running parallel with each other. There are crowds of people – and this gets back to the privacy and so forth – amazingly in all this welter of humanity, there are oceans or little islets of calm in parks and gardens. Certainly in the private homes the hustle and bustle of the place drops away and you’re into quite another world.

And then some Japanese homes, in fact their sense of identity is such, that they will have a Western room and a Japanese room. And they can eat Japanese and have Japanese customs, or they can have a Western room with Western customs, which is not only, of course, the food that they eat, but the instruments that they would be playing, the role of the men and the women in the house and so forth. It’s a fascinating country to visit.

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: Tokyo

Duration: 1 minute, 29 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011