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Catalogue of the papers of RONALD GEORGE WREYFORD NORRISH, FRS (1897 - 1978)


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Reference CSAC 86.4.82
Covering dates ca 1912-1981
Held by Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives
Extent 3 series
Creators Norrish, Ronald George Wreyford, 1897-1978, scientist and chemist
Note Compiled by: Jeannine Alton
Julia Latham-Jackson
The work of the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and institutions
The Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland
The Biochemical Society
The British Pharmacological Society
The Charles Babbage Foundation for the History of Information Processing
The Institute of Physics
The Institution of Electrical Engineers
The Nuffield Foundation
The Physiological Society
The Royal Society of London

Contents:
SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL CSAC 86/4/82/A.1 - CSAC 86/4/82/A.9
SECTION B DIARIES AND NOTEBOOKS CSAC 86/4/82/B.1 - CSAC 86/4/82/B.7
SECTION C NOTES, DRAFTS, LECTURES, CORRESPONDENCE CSAC 86/4/82/C.1 - CSAC 86/4/82/C 12
This small manuscript collection represents all that survives of Norrish's distinguished career. The material was received by courtesy of Sir Frederick Dainton and Professor B.A. Thrush, joint authors of the Royal Society Memoir of Norrish (Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, 27, 1981), to whom we are also grateful for information about some of the items (see especially CSAC 86/4/82/C.2).
The collection consists of correspondence received by Dainton and Thrush while they were working on the Memoir, a few school and undergraduate diaries and notebooks, and some rather miscellaneous notes, drafts and correspondence. These include a complete draft for a very early (1922) unpublished paper on 'Colour and Atomic Constitution ...' (CSAC 86/4/82/C.1) and some interesting notes on disassociation, c.1930 (CSAC 86/4/82/C.2), which illustrate the basis of much of Norrish's classical photochemical work in the nineteen thirties. The surviving correspondence owes its survival to chance rather than merit and in any case is very sparse, although there are a few interesting letters which reflect on Cambridge chemistry in the early nineteen hundreds (CSAC 86/4/82/C.7).
Norrish's school chemistry set is in the Science Museum, South Kensington, London.



BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL  CSAC 86.4.82/A.1 - A.9  [n.d.]

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/A.1

Contents:
Copies of 2 obituaries of Norrish including one from The Times.
Offprint of Royal Society Memoir of Norrish by Sir Frederick Dainton and B.A. Thrush.

Letters received by Dainton and Thrush in reply to requests for reminiscences of Norrish from former colleagues and students.  CSAC 86.4.82/A.2-A.5  [n.d.]

Arrangement: In alphabetical order.


[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/A.2

Contents:
A - B

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/A.3

Contents:
C - K

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/A.4

Contents:
L - O

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/A.5

Contents:
P - S

[no title]  CSAC 86.4.82/A.6  August-September 1978

Contents:
Correspondence between Thrush and Dainton re the Memoir.

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/A.7

Contents:
Book of signatures presented to Norrish on his retirement as Professor of Physical Chemistry at Cambridge in 1965.

[no title]  CSAC 86.4.82/A.8  1965

Contents:
Draft for speech of thanks at award of Honorary D.Sc. by Sheffield University

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/A.9

Contents:
Miscellaneous photographs and printed matter.

DIARIES AND NOTEBOOKS  CSAC 86.4.82/B.1 - B.7  [n.d.]

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/B.1

Contents:
Hard cover Perse School exercise book labelled 'R. Norrish. IVth Form. Science. Magnetism and Electricity'.

[no title]  CSAC 86.4.82/B.2  1919

Contents:
Pocket diary.

[no title]  CSAC 86.4.82/B.3  January-May 1919

Contents:
Brown notebook labelled 'R.G.W. Norrish. Emmanuel College. Chemistry. Jan. 1919', containing accounts of experiments

[no title]  CSAC 86.4.82/B.4  1919-20

Contents:
Cambridge Pocket Diary for the academic year

[no title]  CSAC 86.4.82/B.5  1920-21

Contents:
Cambridge Pocket Diary

[no title]  CSAC 86.4.82/B.6  1920-21

Contents:
Pale green notebook labelled 'Analytical Chemistry. Volumetric and Gravimetric Estimations. Organic Analysis. R.G.W. Norrish. Emmanuel College Cambridge'. Contains accounts of experiments.

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/B.7

Contents:
Small black notebook containing notes on the literature and on lectures and papers, apparently taken during a visit to U.S.A. in 1945. Pages are numbered 1-80 and most of the notebook is filled. Entries include:
Notes on 'Radiation Chemistry [From Report by N. Miller Montreal]' (p. 1ff).
'Notes on Lecture given by Dr. G.T. Seaborg at the Chalk River Laboratory on 19.12.45.' (p.37ff).
Notes on 'Organisation of Research' (p.47ff).
Notes on 'ZEEP - Zero Energy Experimental Pile (p.51ff).

NOTES, DRAFTS, LECTURES, CORRESPONDENCE  CSAC 86.4.82/C.1 - C.12  [n.d.]


Related information: See also CSAC 86/4/82/A.8.

[no title]  CSAC 86.4.82/C.1  1 March 1922

Contents:
'Colour and Atomic Constitution from the point of view of the Lewis Langmuir Theory of the arrangement of electrons in atoms and molecules by R.G.W. Norrish B.A. Emmanuel College.'
24pp. ms. draft. The preface explains that the paper is intended as an expansion of a short article published in Chemical News, 124, January 1922 (Norrish's first published paper).

[no title]  CSAC 86.4.82/C.2  c.1930

Contents:
7pp. ms. notes on predissociation. These are the 'private jottings' referred to by Dainton and Thrush (Memoir, pp.386, 388) which document the thoughts behind some of Norrish's classical photochemical work in the nineteen thirties.

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/C.3

Contents:
'Science Teaching in School and University.'
9 pp. typescript of lecture given to the Cambridge Junior Branch of the Association of Scientific Workers, 6 May 1943. Some loose ms. notes which were originally kept with the lecture have been transferred to CSAC 86.4.82/C.4.

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/C.4

Contents:
Bundle of ms. notes, originally kept with CSAC/86/4/82/C.3. Consists of 2 paginated sequences (1-3, 1-26) for lecture on the position of women in science, n.d. but perhaps 1950s.

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/C.5


Related information: See also CSAC/86/4/82/C.6.

Contents:
Folder labelled 'Lecture on Cambridge and Physical Chemical [sic] Laboratory 1953, 1956' containing ms. and typescript notes and drafts on various aspects of the history of physical chemistry in Cambridge for students attending Summer Schools at the Physical Chemistry Laboratory.

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/C.6

Contents:
30pp. typescript lecture on history of Cambridge University and the Physical Chemistry Laboratory, originally contained in the folder at CSAC/86/4/82/C.5.

[no title]  CSAC 86.4.82/C.7  1932

Contents:
Envelope labelled 'Letters of H.O. Jones, T. Andrewes'. These are dated 1908 (3 letters) and 1900 respectively and were presumably kept by Norrish because of their interest for the history of Cambridge Chemistry. The letter from Andrewes (to G.D. Liveing) documents the presentation of a spectroscope to the Cambridge University Chemical Laboratory. The letters from H.O. Jones (to Heycock) contain several references to the building of a new laboratory.
The envelope also contains a letter in German, from R. Willstätter to M. Lowry.

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/C.8

Contents:
Folder labelled 'The Future of Chemistry in Cambridge' containing memoranda and correspondence by Norrish and others, 1962-64, on the proposed development of the Department of Physical Chemistry after Norrish's retirement in 1965.
Some printed matter is also included in the folder.

Contents of folder labelled 'Fireballs' containing notes, drafts and correspondence re proposed letter to the New Scientist, 1967  CSAC 86.4.82/C.9-C.11  [n.d.]

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/C.9

Contents:
Ms. and typescript drafts of letter, headed 'Fire-balls and "Flying Saucers"' and dated January 1967.

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/C.10

Contents:
Comments by colleagues on Norrish's draft letter. Includes a letter from Sir William Pope, 1935, which appears to have been put into the folder in error, and a letter from the Editor of the New Scientist, February 1966.

[no title or date]  CSAC 86.4.82/C.11

Contents:
Miscellaneous ms. notes and calculations (not all in Norrish's hand). In original folder.

[no title]  CSAC 86.4.82/C.12  26 September 1972

Contents:
Folder labelled 'Russia, Yugoslavia RGWN' containing a letter from Norrish to Dainton describing his visit to Belgrade for the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Serbian Chemical Society with ms. and typescript of his address to the Society.

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