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Testing the properties of iodine monochloride


Background to Harry Emeléus's work with halogens
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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Well, I'd perhaps better explain the story about the iodine halides. One of the main themes in Harry Emeléus' lab was the ionising effect of certain solvents, everyone knows that things dissolve in water and water gives ionic solutions, you can conduct electricity through them, and crystallise salts from them. And there are other solutions, notably liquid ammonia, liquid sulphur dioxide, would be two examples, which do the same thing. Now, at that stage in the late 40s, there was great debate about whether there were any other liquids which could do this, and there were some other liquids but they were very reactive, they were called interhalogen compounds. As you know, Brian, halogens are the seventh – or 17th depending on your nomenclature – group of the periodic table.

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: iodine halides, 1940s, Harry Emeléus

Duration: 1 minute, 13 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011