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History - People - Sir Ronald Sydney Nyholm

Sir Ronald Sydney Nyholm

Sir Ronald Sydney Nyholm
(1917 - 1971)

Head of Department : 1963 - 1971

Nyholm graduated at Sydney University, and after a short stay at UCL, became Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of New South Wales. He returned to UCL in 1955 and became Head of Department on Hughes ' death. His most important work was the preparation of stable compounds in which a transition metal is in a valence state previously believed to be unstable. He made extensive use of "soft" donors, especially arsines. In rather stereotypically antipodean fashion, he dubbed one of his favourite ligands, ortho-phenylenedimethylarsine, "diars". In 1955 he wrote a key paper entitled "The Renaissance of Inorganic Chemistry" which helped to refocus attention on the subject.

He was much concerned with the teaching of chemistry, and this was reflected in his activities and publications. He was knighted in 1967 and was much mourned after his sudden death in a car accident in 1971.

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This page last modified 20 September, 2010

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