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Obtaining a Harwell research fellowship


GLEEP: The beginning of the British nuclear programme
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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After the war, in England the people who’d been working on the nuclear power and the nuclear weapons, came back and it was clear that in terms of power generation, nuclear energy would be a very good way forward, for at least some of the power. And so Sir John Cockcroft, who is an eminent physicist, was put in charge of building up the Atomic Energy Research Establishment to research a British presence in that. They built a graphite low energy-powered pile... GLEEP, it was called, Graphite Low Energy Experimental Pile, the acronym for that and that was the first nuclear reactor that had been built in Europe as distinct from America.

And then later that produced... a power producer at Windscale and that was the first commercially-produced electricity, I think anywhere in the world, in fact; and the British nuclear energy programme began at that point.

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: Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell, Graphite Low Energy Experimental Pile, GLEEP, Windscale, John Cockcroft

Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011