Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He was born 14 July 1921 in the village of Springside , near Todmorden in Yorkshire. His father, also a Geoffrey, was a master house painters and decorator; his mother worked in a local cotton mill. One of his uncles, an organist and choirmaster, had married into a family that owned a small chemical company making Epsom and Glauber's salt for the pharmaceutical industry. This is where he first developed an interest in Chemistry.
He was educated in the local council primary school and, after winning a County Scholarship in 1932, went to Todmorden Secondary School. There, he had the same Physics teacher as Sir John Cockcroft, who received a Nobel Prize for “splitting the atom”.
In 1939 he obtained a Royal Scholarship for study at the Imperial College London where he graduated in 1941. In 1942, Professor Friedriech A. Paneth was recruiting young chemists for the nuclear energy project. He joined, and was sent out to Canada and remained in Montreal and later Chalk River until he could leave in 1946. For the next four years he worked with Professor Glenn T. Seaborg at Berkeley, California, mostly on nuclear taxonomy. He then became a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and began to return to his first interest as a student - transition metal complexes such as carbonyls and olefin complexes.
He was then at Harvard from September 1951 until he returned to England in December, 1955, with a sabbatical break of nine months in Copenhagen. At Harvard, he still did some nuclear work on excitation functions for protons on cobalt but had already begun to work on olefin complexes.
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