In Memoriam Professor Norman Greenwood

In Memoriam Professor Norman Greenwood

It is with the deepest sadness and sorrow that we announce the unexpected death of Professor Norman Greenwood on 14 November 2012 at the age of 87 years.

Norman was born and educated in Melbourne. He studied part-time for his undergraduate degree in Melbourne because of financial constraints and subsequently moved to Cambridge as a research student and then post doctoral fellow with Professor Harry Julius Emeleus. His later employment at the Atomic Research Establishment at Harwell introduced him to expertise with which he later used in his work on atomic weights, isotopic abundance and manmade elements.

Norman’s contribution to developing Mossbauer spectroscopy in the United Kingdom was immense. As a senior Professor of inorganic chemistry he strove to establish the technique and encouraged work of high standard. The tone of his laboratory was always informal and all shared academic ideas in an atmosphere of lively discussion. He gained worldwide recognition for his work and was thrilled by the appointment by NASA to study rocks brought back from the moon in the Apollo programme. He was the founder of The Royal Society of Chemistry Mossbauer Group and with Terry Gibb, wrote the book Mossbauer Spectroscopy which at its time was the definitive treatise on the subject. He was recognised as a leading practitioner of the technique on the international stage. In the early 1980’s Norman made the hard decision to focus his work exclusively on the chemistry of boron and develop his highly respected reputation in the international boron community.

Norman believed that chemistry is exciting and his book Chemistry of the Elements written with Alan Earnshaw has achieved global acclaim. He held honorary doctorates from Universities in Japan and France and was elected a foreign member of the French Academy of Sciences. He was elected a Fellow of The Royal society in 1987.

Norman will be remembered by many of us as an innovative researcher who established Mossbauer Spectroscopy in the United Kingdom, He was a stimulating teacher and colleague and an outstanding communicator.

He is survived by his wife Kirsten and two daughters.

Professor Frank Berry