Dick Chambers' Research Group

[Dr Richard Dickinson Chambers took up a lectureship at Durham in 1960, becoming successively reader (1970) and professor (1976). He chaired the Board of Studies in Chemistry from 1 July 1983 until 30 September 1986 (the first two months as acting chairman). Head of Department In 1997 he was elected fellow of the Royal Society (London). In retirement (from 2000, September; using Departmental writing space until 2010), he has lived in Durham. The oration at the presentation of his Chancellor's Medal from Durham University in 2016 on April 25 is here.

Group members, by year of joining (Each postgraduate listed obtained the qualifications shown. The list is compiled from official University records, which do not account for the unwritten agreement, common at the time, between Dick Chambers and Ken Musgrave that the junior would supervise both research group's activities in return for strategic support from the senior as required. In terms of current practice, the 22 postgraduate starts listed for Ken Musgrave's group from 1961 onwards were starts in Dick Chambers' group. From that year, all staff appointed for organofluorine research are listed below as members of the latter's group.)

1961 Tristram Chivers Ph.D. (i.e. on October 1 started a Ph.D. study period of 36 months full-time) [D.Sc. 1981]; 1962 John A. Cunningham Ph.D.; 1963 Thomas F. Holmes (until 1995, Departmental graduate-level experimental support, shared with Departmental C,H,N-analysis management); 1964 Brian Iddon and Richard N. Gedye (associated senior demonstrators from October 1, 24 and 12 months), John Hutchinson and David A. Pyke (postdoctorals, 12 and 24 months); 1965 J.A. Hugh MacBride (postdoctoral, 12 months), David J. Spring Ph.D.; 1966 Michael Hole (associated senior demonstrator from October 1, 24 months), J.A. Hugh MacBride (associated fixed-term lecturer from October 1, 24 months), John A. Cunningham (postdoctoral, 12 months); 1967 Ian S. Reilly M.Sc. (i.e. on October 1 started an M.Sc. study period of 12 months full-time); 1968 Yvonne Rees (associated fixed-term lecturer from 1 October, 12 months), David J. Spring (associated senior demonstrator from October 1, 36 months), Roger P. Corbally and J.A.Hugh MacBride and Anthony J. Palmer (postdoctorals, 48, 24 and 12 months), Michael Clark and Michael Y. Gribble and Eric Marper and Stafford Partington Ph.D.s; 1969 Stephen L. Bell and Anne Fletcher Ph.D.s; 1970 Yvonne Rees (associated senior demonstrator from October 1, 36 months), Jerzy R. Maslakiewicz and David B. Speight and John S. Waterhouse Ph.D.s; 1971 Michael Clark (associated senior demonstrator from October 1, 24 months), Michael Y. Gribble and Peter G. Urben (postdoctoral, 24 and 36 months), Richard Daniels Ph.D.; 1972 Dennis Pearce and Paul D. Philpot Ph.D.s; 1973 Jerzy. M. Maslakiewicz (postdoctoral, 12 months), Roderick Middleton Ph.D.; 1974 Peter. L. Russell (postdoctoral, 36 months), Robert D. Hercliffe and Colin R. Sargent and David E. Wood Ph.D.s; 1975 Andrew Lindley Ph.D.; 1976 Sheena Bartlett and Graham Taylor Ph.D.s; 1977 Noel M. Kelly (started January 1) and Colin G.P. Jones and Michael J. Silvester Ph.D.s, Colin R. Sargent (research assistant, 24 months); 1978 Robert N. Barnes and Peter A. Martin Ph.D.s; 1979 J. Martin E. Quirke (associated fixed-term lecturer from October 1, 36 months - to USA/Miami, Florida International University), Colin R. Sargent (postdoctoral, 12 months), Brian Grievson and Julian R. Kirk Ph.D.s; 1980 Michael J. Silvester (postdoctoral, 36 months); 1981 Martin R. Bryce (associated senior demonstrator from October 1, 24 months Martin Bryce's Research Group), Mark J. Seabury Ph.D.; 1982 Dietmar Bielefeldt and Masayuki Tamura (from January 1, visiting researchers, 12 and 25 months - the former postdoctoral, the latter, from February 1, registered for Ph.D., which was completed), Brian Grievson (postdoctoral from October 1, 24 months), Gillian E. Carr and Steven L. Jones and J. Martin Salisbury and Peter T. Telford Ph.D.s, Christopher D. Hewitt Ph.D. P/T (i.e. on October 1 started a Ph.D. study period of 60 months part-time); 1983 Andrew E. Bayliff and Stephen T. Mullins Ph.D.s; 1984 Peter Hoare Ph.D.; 1985 David J. Mincher (associated senior demonstrator from October 1, 12 months), Glen C. Apsey and Mark W. Briscoe and Alan P. Swales Ph.D.s; 1986 David O'Hagan (associated senior demonstrator from November 1, 23 months David O'Hagan's Research Group), Martin P. Greenhall Ph.D; 1987 Robert W. Fuss (started January 1) Ph.D., Zdeněk Chvátal [browse Chvatal](visiting lecturer, CZ/PragueInstChemTechnol., April 24, 3 months), Pierangelo Calini (visiting researcher, I/Milano/Montefluos SpA, June 20, 1 month); 1988 Jonathan M. Percy (associated fixed-term lecturer from October 1, 18 months), Andrew K. Joel and Steven J. Mullins and Graham Sandford and P. Howard Whitby Ph.D.s, Omar M. Abu-Nasrieh M.Sc.; 1989 Martin P. Greenhall (postdoctoral, November 1, 11 month), Takayuki Nakamura (started April 1) and Nigel C. Parkinson Ph.D.s, Alan W.A. Sneddon M.Sc., S.C. Jain and A.P. Wright (zzzz, September 1, 3 and 4 months); 1990 Maurice J.P. Medebielle (postdoctoral, December 1, 12 months), Paolo S. Odello (started January 1) Ph.D.; 1991 L.D. Proctor (postdoctoral, November 18, 12.4 month), Christopher J. Skinner and Julian F.S. Vaughan Ph.D.s, Zdeněk Chvátal [browse Chvatal] (revisiting lecturer, CZ/PragueInstChemTechnol, January 1, 10 months, Kathleen L.M. Nattrass (research-group secretary, 20.1 month; 1992 Stephen N. Dunn and Alexander J. Roche and Robert C.H. Spink Ph.D.s, John Hutchinson [visiting fellow, GB/BritishNuclearFuels Ltd (=BNFL)], January 6, 74.8 month), Martin P. Greenhall and Julie Thomson, visiting postdoctorals, BNFL, January 13, 38.6 month]; 1993 Graham Sandford (postdoctoral, August 1, 38 months Graham Sandford's Research Group), W. Keith Gray Ph.D.; 1994 Aneela Shah (postdoctoral, 12 month), Andrew R. Edwards and Anwar H.S. Gilani and Christopher W. Hall and Corinne Magron and Matthew E. Sparrowhawk Ph.D.s, Paolo S. Odello (technical assistant, January 1, 3 month), Neil Bartlett (visiting professor, USA/CA/Berkeley/Univ. California, September 18, 3.4 month), S.H. Imam (zzzz, May 23, 4.3 month); 1995 Christopher Farren Ph.D., Alexander J. Roche (technical assistant, 3 month), M. Irene Harries (research-group secretary, 60 month); 1996 Julian F.S. Vaughan and Robert C.H. Spink (postdoctorals, January 1 and March 1, 22 and 55 month), A.J. Rees (zzzz, July 22, 24 month); 1997 Julian A. Cooper and Philip R. Hoskin and Mandy Parsons Ph.D.s, S. Nishimura (zzzz, January 10, 10.7 month); 1998 John Hutchinson (honorary research associate, April 13, 29 month), Christal M. Olivares (started April 1) and Hadjar Benmansour Ph.D.s [final 6 (CMO) and 12 (HB) months' full-time study supervised by Graham Sandford], A.J. Rees (zzzz, September 19, 13.4 month); 2000 A Khalil (zzzz, February 1, 7.7 month, continuing for 4.3 month with Graham Sandford's Research Group).


Graham Sandford (postgraduate 1988-91), contributing in May 2016, recalls an event celebrating Dick Chambers' retirement from full-time employment with Durham University.

A one-day symposium at Durham in July 2001, commemorating Dick's retirement ten months earlier, attracted many former research colleagues and other friends to the University's Science laboratories. Lecturers in the West Building's Applebey Theatre included Carl Krespan (DuPont), David O'Hagan (St Andrew's University), Chris Hewitt (Sigma-Aldrich), Don Burton (University of Iowa) and myself.

In the evening, a dinner at Collingwood College was concluded by speeches from the Rt Hon. Jack Cunningham M.P. (one of Dick's former research students), from Professor David Parker (Durham University) reviewing the day's lectures, and from RDC himself. Dick was unaware of a sweepstake among many of the diners (particularly former postgraduates), which ran on the duration of his speech. Cries of 'More, more' from one side of the room (the 1960s postgraduate cohort) attempted to get Dick to talk longer than he did, so as to land a 1960s win. This was revealed to Dick later with much banter. It was a fun event.


Some members of the group on a hot day in May 1982 at the summit of Green Gable in the Lake District during one of the group's annual days out.

L to R: Brian Grievson (postgraduate 1979-82), Dick Chambers, Mark Seabury (p/g 1981-4), Catherine Cross (p/g, Wade group, 1981-4), Martin Bryce (associated senior demonstrator), Mike Silvester (postdoctoral), Dietmar Bielefeldt (visiting postdoctoral), Masayuki Tamura (p/g 1982-4) [photographer Jack Kirk (p/g 1979-82)].

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