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UCL Chemistry Department 1828-1974

Posted on 20. December, 2013.

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Science Reviews 2000 are delighted to announce the publication of a new book, UCL Chemistry Department 1828–1974 by Professor Alwyn Davies and Professor Peter Garratt.

“Alwyn Davies and Peter Garratt have succeeded brilliantly in capturing the dynamics of a successful department and the careers of its many colourful characters” – Sir Malcolm Grant, Provost and President, UCL.

University College London was founded in 1826 as the first new university to be established in England for more than 500 years. The Chemistry Department opened its doors for teaching and research in 1828, and we give here an account of the first century and a half of its existence. We have taken the main story up to 1974 since this forms a natural break with the appointment of a new Head of Department, and many of the staff who joined after that date are still involved in teaching and research. We have, however, continued the account of the careers of those members of staff who were here at that time, until they either left or retired.

It does not claim to be a work of scholarship but rather a useful and readable record that will interest particularly our own alumni. The story and illustrations have been compiled largely from the Department’s own records, although much of it was lost during the Second World War. We also circulated our alumni for their memories of their time here and we are very grateful for what they sent. Some are incorporated in the relevant chapters and a selection is given in the final chapter where they give a fascinating picture of the changing Department.

We have avoided heavy referencing but a bibliography is provided for each chapter, together with two appendices of factual material.

We are conscious that the account contains many errors in detail, and we would be grateful for any comments, corrections, and other contributions. These and a complete file of our alumni’s reminiscences will be placed in our archives for future reference by our successors who may one day write a second edition of our history. We hope that they derive as much pleasure in writing it as we have in writing this one.

We are very grateful to Sara Nash and Christine Evans of Science Reviews 2000 Ltd who saw the book through to publication, and to John Ridd who made a generous contribution to the cost.

Alwyn Davies,
Peter Garratt
July 2013

Available through the UCL College Shop at a cost of £12.00 or online here.