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Preparations for the Lapland expedition


'You don't know about Norway's mosquitoes!'
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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There was a lot of marshy country and importantly huge mosquitoes. I said to Kirsten, 'Don't worry about mosquitoes, I know all about them'. You don't know about north Norway's mosquitoes because what happens is of course that with the reindeer moss being covered by snow for several months of the year, then the sun comes out and it's way past the Arctic Circle so it just stews in the sunlight for 24 hours a day. The mosquitoes love it and they grow accordingly. They are looking for food and what better than half a dozen idiotic travellers. So we had nets. We had to use mosquito oil and we found that when we had to trade with the Lapps they weren't interested in money. They could get their own food. What they wanted was mosquito oil because they were plagued by this as well, and what we used was called DIMP, it's dimethyl phthalate was the mosquito repellent of the day.

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: Norway, Lapland

Duration: 1 minute, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011