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All science aids the future


Water-like solvent work at Nottingham: Cliff Addison
Norman Greenwood Scientist
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Now, in Nottingham, again I was fortunate – I should be blessed with good fortunes that go around, but in Nottingham, the head of the inorganic department was Cliff Addison, Cyril Clifford Addison. He’d been a teacher before the war, but set up a research group in Nottingham, and interestingly, he was one of the first people in England to be studying, what in Germany is called wasserähnlich lösungen, water-like solvents, solvents which are liquid at room temperature, but which have the ability to ionise the things that are dissolved in them, like water and ammonia. We’ve already rehearsed this because that was in the area that I was working in in Cambridge in the halogen chemistry and, indeed in the boron trifluoride work as well.

Cliff Addison chose to work in dinitrogen tetroxide which is a very reactive brown liquid, hard to handle until you learn how to do it, but has some very interesting chemistry associated with it.

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: Nottingham, Cambridge University, Cyril Clifford Addison

Duration: 1 minute, 25 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2011

Date story went live: 25 November 2011