Norman Greenwood

Last updated

Norman Neill Greenwood
Norman Greenwood.jpg
Born(1925-01-19)19 January 1925
Melbourne, Australia
Died14 November 2012(2012-11-14) (aged 87)
Leeds, United Kingdom
Alma mater University of Melbourne
Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
Known for Boron chemistry
Determination of atomic weights
The textbook Chemistry of the Elements
Scientific career
Fields Inorganic chemistry
Institutions University of Newcastle upon Tyne
University of Leeds
Doctoral advisor Harry Julius Emeléus
Notable students Kenneth Wade

Norman Neill Greenwood FRS CChem FRSC (19 January 1925 – 14 November 2012 [1] [2] [3] ) was an Australian-British chemist and Emeritus Professor at the University of Leeds. [4] Together with Alan Earnshaw, he wrote the textbook Chemistry of the Elements, first published in 1984.


Early life and education

After attending University High School, Melbourne (1939–42), Greenwood read Chemistry at the University of Melbourne and graduated with a BSc in 1945 and an MSc in 1948. In 1948, he was awarded the Exhibition of 1851 Scholarship to enable him to read for a PhD at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge under the supervision of Harry Julius Emeléus. He received the PhD in 1951. [5]

Academic career

Greenwood was a senior research fellow at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment from 1951 until 1953 when he was appointed a lecturer at the University of Nottingham. His first PhD student at Nottingham was Kenneth Wade (1954–1957). [6]

Professor William Wynne-Jones, who was the Chairman of the School of Chemistry at Kings College, Durham (which was to become the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1963), recruited Greenwood to the first established chair of inorganic chemistry in the country in 1961.

Greenwood was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Inorganic and Structural Chemistry at the University of Leeds in 1971, a post which he held until his retirement in 1990 when he was given the title Emeritus Professor.

His wide-ranging researches in inorganic and structural chemistry have 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 has held numerous visiting professorships throughout the world. He was appointed by NASA as principal investigator in the study of lunar rocks. [4] He served as chairman of the IUPAC Commission on Atomic Weights from 1970 to 1975 and also as president of the IUPAC Inorganic Chemistry Division. [5]


Greenwood was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1987. [7] [8]


Editor: Spectroscopic Properties of Inorganic and Organometallic Compounds, Royal Society of Chemistry, Volume 1 (1968) to Volume 9 (1976)

Related Research Articles

Group (periodic table) Column of elements in the periodic table of the chemical elements

In chemistry, a group is a column of elements in the periodic table of the chemical elements. There are 18 numbered groups in the periodic table; the f-block columns are not numbered. The elements in a group have similar physical or chemical characteristics of the outermost electron shells of their atoms, because most chemical properties are dominated by the orbital location of the outermost electron.

The term coordination geometry is used in a number of related fields of chemistry and solid state chemistry/physics.

In chemistry an antimonate is a compound which contains a metallic element, oxygen, and antimony in an oxidation state of +5. These compounds adopt polymeric structures with M-O-Sb linkages. They can be considered to be derivatives of the hypothetical antimonic acid H3SbO4, or combinations of metal oxides and antimony pentoxide, Sb2O5.

Friedrich Adolf Paneth was an Austrian-born British chemist. Fleeing the Nazis, he escaped to Britain. He became a naturalized British citizen in 1939. After the war, Paneth returned to Germany to become director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in 1953. He was considered the greatest authority of his time on volatile hydrides and also made important contributions to the study of the stratosphere.

Vanadium(III) oxide Chemical compound

Vanadium(III) oxide is the inorganic compound with the formula V2O3. It is a black solid prepared by reduction of V2O5 with hydrogen or carbon monoxide. It is a basic oxide dissolving in acids to give solutions of vanadium (III) complexes. V2O3 has the corundum structure. It is antiferromagnetic with a critical temperature of 160 K. At this temperature there is an abrupt change in conductivity from metallic to insulating. This also distorts the crystal structure to a monoclinic space group: C2/c.

Gold(V) fluoride Chemical compound

Gold(V) fluoride is the inorganic compound with the formula Au2F10. This fluoride compound features gold in its highest known oxidation state. This red solid dissolves in hydrogen fluoride but these solutions decompose, liberating fluorine.

Mary L. Good American chemist

Mary Lowe Good was an American inorganic chemist who worked academically, in industrial research and in government. Good contributed to the understanding of catalysts such as ruthenium which activate or speed up chemical reactions.

John Stuart Anderson FRS, FAA, was a British and Australian scientist who was Professor of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne and Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford.

Stock nomenclature for inorganic compounds is a widely used system of chemical nomenclature developed by the German chemist Alfred Stock and first published in 1919. In the "Stock system", the oxidation states of some or all of the elements in a compound are indicated in parentheses by Roman numerals.

Cyril Clifford Addison, FRS was a British inorganic chemist.

Kenneth Wade British chemist

Kenneth Wade, (1932–2014) was a British chemist and professor emeritus at Durham University.

Thomas Summers West British chemist

Thomas Summers West was a British chemist.

Triphosphane or triphosphine is an inorganic compound having the chemical formula HP(PH2)2. It can be generated from diphosphine but is highly unstable at room temperature:

Harry Julius Emeléus CBE, FRS was a leading English inorganic chemist and a professor in the department of chemistry, Cambridge University.

Hexasulfur Chemical compound

Hexasulfur is an inorganic chemical with the chemical formula S
, consisting of a ring of six sulfur atoms. It is thus a simple cyclosulfane and an allotrope of sulfur. It is also the final member of the thiane heterocyclic series, where every carbon is substituted with a sulfur atom.

Arsonic acid Chemical compound

Arsonic acid is the simplest of the arsonic acids. It is a hypothetical compound, although the tautomeric arsenious acid (As(OH)3) is well established. In contrast to the instability of HAsO(OH)2, the phosphorus compound with analogous stoichiometry exists as the tetrahedral tautomer. Similarly, organic derivatives such as phenylarsonic acid are tetrahedral with pentavalent central atom.

The Inorganic Chemistry Division of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), also known as Division II, deals with all aspects of inorganic chemistry, including materials and bioinorganic chemistry, and also with isotopes, atomic weights and the periodic table. It furthermore advises the Chemical Nomenclature and Structure Representation Division on issues dealing with inorganic compounds and materials. For the general public, the most visible result of the division's work is that it evaluates and advises the IUPAC on names and symbols proposed for new elements that have been approved for addition to the periodic table. For the scientific end educational community the work on isotopic abundances and atomic weights is of fundamental importance as these numbers are continuously checked and updated.

Department of Chemistry, University of Manchester

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Manchester is one of the largest Departments of Chemistry in the United Kingdom, with over 600 undergraduate and more than 200 postgraduate research students.

Hirdaya Behari Mathur (1928–1980) was an Indian physical chemist and the director of Defence Materials and Stores Research and Development Establishment, Kanpur. He was known for his studies on radioactive isotopes and solid state diffusion of metals. Mathur was a fellow of Sigma Xi and an elected fellow of the Indian National Science Academy and the Indian Academy of Sciences. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the apex agency of the Government of India for scientific research, awarded him the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology, one of the highest Indian science awards, in 1973, for his contributions to chemical sciences.

Alfred Gavin Maddock (1917-2009) was an English inorganic chemist, radiochemist and spectroscopist who worked on the Tube Alloys Project and the Manhattan Project during World War II. Those projects resulted in the development of the atomic bomb. He may be best known for, during World War II, spilling Canada's entire supply of plutonium which was 10 milligrams onto a wooden laboratory bench, and for recovered 9 and a half milligrams of plutonium. He recovered it by wet chemistry. He also had a distinguished, though less eventful, post-war academic career.


  1. University of Leeds, Obituary notice
  2. Perkins, Peter (27 November 2012). "Norman Greenwood |". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  3. Obituary notice, The Times, 30 November 2012
  4. 1 2 Johnson, Brian (25 November 2011). "Norman Greenwood tells his life story (May 2011)". Web of Stories . Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  5. 1 2 University of Leeds, Obituary
  6. Wade, Kenneth (21 May 2009). "Harry Julius Emeleus (1903–1993)" (PDF). Chemical Genealogy Database. University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign . Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  7. Royal Society, List of Fellows
  8. Johnson, Brian F. G.; Welch, Alan J.; Woollins, J. Derek; Johnson, Charles; Housecroft, Catherine E. (2020). "Norman Neill Greenwood. 19 January 1925—14 November 2012". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 68: 195–218. doi: 10.1098/rsbm.2019.0015 . S2CID   209387095.