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The only Australian in the family


Sheona Ferguson, university administrator
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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Now there were several other secretaries and some juniors to the ones I’ve mentioned. But those were ones which stand out in mind. Perhaps I will mention just one more, Sheona Ferguson, because this was in a different role.

This was in the role of university administration. She was an Assistant Registrar and her job was to look after the Dean in charge of a faculty, and she had two faculties: Science and Applied Science as they were then, and she was very helpful in presenting the business. She was getting the papers together from the different departments, so she was actually working in the Registrar’s department, but closely involved with my work. And I think I established an interesting precedent there, that by and large, professors were called to the Registrar’s department because he was down there, and the professors came into the senior administration, and I felt that as Dean, as you know, in those days was not a paid appointment, it was fitted in amongst other work, that the Registrar’s Assistant should come to Chemistry, which she was quite prepared to do.

So she came up and we had our meetings, and she ran several other groups, particularly when departments were being not closed, but reviewed and assessed, and downsized and so forth. She had all the papers and arranged all the meetings for those sorts of things, so again, secretarial assistance was very important. Thank you.

[Q] Thank you, Norman.

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: Sheona Ferguson

Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011