Geoff Coates' Research Group

[Geoffrey Edward Coates M.Sc.Oxon. moved from a lectureship at Bristol University to take up the chair of chemistry at Durham in 1953, qualifying for a D.Sc. from Bristol University in the following year. History He left Durham in 1968 for the United States of America to head the Chemistry Department at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, retiring in 1979 and remaining at Laramie, in regular contact with Durham, until his death in 2013 on January 10, aged 95. Geoffrey Coates. An engaging appreciation of Geoff Coates' influence on research at Durham appears in the volume of papers, edited by Ken Wade, that marks Coates' 70th birthday (F. Glockling, J.organometallic chem., 1987, 325, ix-xi.).]

Group members, by year of joining - on October 1 unless stated (Each postgraduate listed obtained the qualification shown.)

1953 Biarne S. Wiborg Ph.D. (joined August 1 for the final 2 months of a 36-month full-time Ph.D. study period; first 34 months supervised by Fritz Paneth), Roy G. Hayter and Raymond Whitcombe (visiting Ph.D. students, GB/Bristol, August 1, 26 months); 1955 Derek Blake Ph.D. (i.e. on October 1 started a Ph.D. study period of 36 months full-time); 1956 George Calvin Ph.D.; 1957 Peter S. Dixon Ph.D.; 1958 John G. Livingstone Ph.D., John M.F. Braddock M.Sc.(i.e. on October 1 started an M.Sc. study period of 12 months full-time); 1959 Graham F. Cox (postdoctoral, 24 months), Stuart I.E. Green and Christopher Parkin Ph.D.s; 1960 P.J. Graham and R.N. Mukherjee Ph.D.s 1961 Norman A. Bell Ph.D. [D.Sc. 1988]; 1962 James W. Emsley [postdoctoral, 24 months (first 12 as ICI postdoctoral fellow - for predecessor see Graham Martin's Research Group, 1958, for successor see Jim Emsley's Research Group), 1963], L. Banford and Alan Lauder and Daniel Ridley Ph.D.s; 1963 O. Edward Beachley (postdoctoral, 12 months), Michael Tranah Ph.D.; 1964 J. Malcolm Smith (associated senior demonstrator, 36 months), Norman A. Bell and Melvyn Kilner Mel Kilner's Research Group (postdoctoral, 36 and 12 months), Anthony H. Fishwick and James A. Heslop Ph.D.s; 1965 Daniel Ridley (postdoctoral, 12 months), Philip D. Roberts Ph.D.; 1966 Brian R. Francis Ph.D. [final 12 months at USA/Laramie].

In 2008 (March 28-30), an alumni-driven reunion at Durham of members of the Department from the years 1953-76 celebrated the 90th years of Geoffrey Edward Coates (born 1917, May 14) and William Kenneth Rogerson Musgrave (born 1918, November 13).

Roy Hayter (Ph.D. Bristol 1955), contributing in September 2011, recalls the early years at Durham as follows.

“When Geoff Coates took the Chair of Chemistry at Durham in 1953, I was part of his research group that moved with him from Bristol University. At the time, I was beginning a second year of postgraduate research, as was my lab partner Ray Whitcombe. The third member was Frank Glockling, who moved from a post-doctoral fellowship at Bristol to a lectureship at Durham. I remember that Prof. Coates’ emphasis on research caused some consternation among some members of the staff of the Chemistry Department. As students, we observed this situation from afar. Some staff members scrambled to respond, while others were more relaxed. This move took both Ray and I by surprise. We spent much of the summer of 1953 dismantling and packing up chemicals and equipment. In Durham, we organized lab space and rebuilt vacuum lines in the temporary huts along South Road. In fact, Ray did most of the building, while I tried to help and keep out of the way. Prof. Coates was most considerate of my situation during this transition, which was to take me away from Bristol for the first time. He visited my home, talked to my parents, said that he had arranged a room for me in University College and gave my mother a book “Durham Castle,” which I still have. I traveled with him and Jean, his wife, to Durham, which was an early experience of what was then, to me, the unknown “North of England.” My main interest on moving to Durham, in addition to continuing my research project, was to gain a place in the University Rugby XV. I played most enjoyably for University College and Durham Colleges in 1953-5, and was a member of the Durham University XV that won the 1955 UAU Championship. Prof. Coates helped me to acquire a post-doctoral fellowship with Prof. Albert Laubengayer at Cornell University in New York State for 1955-6. In 1969, Prof. Coates was an invited speaker at Shell’s Research Labs in Emeryville, California. I will long remember Geoff Coates as a mentor and as a model for innovative research.”

The arrow points to the laboratory that Ray Whitcombe and Roy Hayter shared during their two years in Durham; it was at the west end of the hut. The long axis of the hut is parallel to Stockton Road, shown at the crossroads it forms with South road (uphill) and Church Street Head (downhill).

Vacuum line typically used by Geoff Coates and his students to explore the chemistry of main group elements such as gallium, indium and beryllium.

Reflections of some students at the celebration in September 2011 of 50 years of teaching and research in the building Profesor Coates helped to design for chemistry at Durham

Professor Coates came to Durham when Chemistry occupied the Dawson Building, opened in 1924, together with all other sciences, Biology, Geology, Physics. Research Space was limited. Annual intake into years two and three of BSc Chemistry (Hons) was no more than 20, from a first year in which students chose studies from the sciences which enabled specialization in honours or combined and general science degrees.

…… Click here to read more about the Reflections

research_groups/prof._geoffrey_e._coates.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/02 19:42 by euan
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