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Chemistry of the Elements


The two qualifications of a Japanese professor
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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One occasion we were going... there are inevitable train journeys all the time in Japan, to and from, because the distances are so vast in Tokyo. And Takeda said, ‘The first qualification of a Japanese professor is to learn to sleep on a train, and the second thing is to wake up at the right station’, which they did.

But on one occasion he said, ‘Excuse me’, and he battled his way through several coaches and he said, ‘Heiso, it is all right’. And I said, ‘What’s all right?’ And he said, ‘Your name is printed’. And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said, ‘I have paid this railway company to put up notices, which say, come to Toho University, Professor Greenwood is giving illustrated lectures’. And he said, ‘It’s a recruitment drive’, and I was apparently well used in that as well.

No it was a great experience to be there.

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: Japan, Tokyo, Toho University

Duration: 1 minute, 3 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011