UCL News


UCL commemorates Ramsay's Nobel centenary

16 December 2004

UCL commemorated the anniversary of Sir William Ramsay's (1852-1916) Nobel prize for his discovery of the 'noble gases' on 10 December 2004, with a series of events hosted by the Department of Chemistry in conjunction with the Society for the History of Alchemy & Chemistry and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

Dr David Giachardi (RSC), Professor Robin Clark & Professor Malcolm Grant

The day's events began with a symposium, entitled 'Chemistry at UCL before Ramsay' which featured speakers from UCL and the Open University, including Dr Hasok Chang, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Science & Technology, and Professor Alwyn Davies of the Department of Chemistry.

The centenary events concluded with the unveiling of a RSC Chemical Heritage plaque at the Slade School of Art by Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL's President and Provost. It was here that Ramsay's laboratory was once located, where he completed many of his groundbreaking experiments.

Sir William Ramsay was Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at UCL's Department of Chemistry from 1887 until his retirement in 1913. Although he worked initially in the fields of organic and physical chemistry, he is best remembered for his meticulous studies of the gases of the atmosphere. From 1885-1890, Ramsay published several notable papers on the oxides of nitrogen and followed these up with the discovery of argon, helium, neon, krypton and xenon, collectively known as the 'noble gases'. 2004 marks the centenary for his Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which was awarded for the "discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air, and his determination of their place in the Periodic system."

Image: Dr David Giachardi (RSC), Professor Robin Clark and Professor Malcolm Grant.

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Link: Department of Chemistry