Anne Hardy, Geoffrey Wilkinson’s eldest daughter, talks about family life with her father. Holidays in Denmark, creating a garden in Sussex. Geoff as a grandfather. Updated interview including added reflections of the Russian visit to recover royalties! Video by Nicholas Cole-Hamilton.
Malcolm Green (FRS, FRSC, Emeritus Professor University of Oxford) was Geoffrey’s first student after he arrived at Imperial College, and remembers the exciting time around the start of organometallic chemistry. Pioneering work on ferrocene, identifying the first metal hydrides with early NMR spectroscopy, and the general problems with characterisation of these new materials.
Bill Griffith (Professor Emeritus, Imperial College) on working with Geoff Wilkinson at the frontiers of coordination chemistry in the late 1950s. Explosions by Malcolm Green and Eddie Abel!
Jon McCleverty did his first degree in Aberdeen, but found Geoff immediately approachable, which encouraged him to move to Imperial for his PhD. He joined the group during the early days, with Heath Robinson methods for manipulating air sensitive compounds. On making tantalum pentadiene trihydride for the first time (the first thing he made in the lab) he was given 6d as a reward – which Geoff doubled when Jon said it was nearly his birthday. Geoff joked that Scotsmen were like Yorkshiremen with the generosity squeezed out of them – so Jon later returned the sixpences made into cufflinks as a memento! Working in Goeff’s group was hard, with long hours, but a marvellous experience that he will never forget.
Ernesto Carmona (Professor Inorganic Chemistry, University of Seville) remembers his time in Geoffrey Wilkinson’s research group at Imperial College London.
Peter Edwards’ (PhD 1976-79 at Imperial College) personal recollections of studying under Geoffrey Wilkinson, coping with a supervisor who was always challenging, though supportive and inspirational. Peter’s PhD was on rhenium clusters with metal-carbon bonds, though he later collaborated with Geoffrey on oxo-rhenium alkyls – where the first attempt at synthesis nearly burned the department down!
Peter is an honorary Professor at the School of Chemistry, Cardiff University
Bruno Chaudret (Director, LPCNO, INSA, CNRS, Toulouse) remembers a fantastic time working with Geoffrey Wilkinson, and other members of his research team at Imperial College.
Jennifer Green’s personal recollections, and working on photoelectron spectroscopy of organometallics with Geoffrey Wilkinson.
Manfred Bochmann (Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at UEA Norwich) remembers an interesting time as a PhD student at Imperial College under Geoffrey Wilkinson.
David Cole Hamilton
David Cole Hamilton (Professor Emeritus, University of St Andrews) remembers his time in Geoffrey Wilkinson’s research group at Imperial College London.
Bob Tooze (Manager, Drochaid Research Services, St Andrews) first met Geoff in February 1981 as a student at Imperial. He remembers Geoff’s anecdotes, and passion for chemistry as an undergraduate; a passion that inspired him to undertake a PhD with him. Geoff was an inspirational supervisor, taking a close interest and encouraging his student’s work. Geoff was interested in new Chemistry, wanting a new experiment every day! He said there was no such thing as pure and applied science, just good or bad…
Videos were produced by Nick Cole-Hamilton, with Sandy Russell