REMEMBERING SIR GEOFFREY WILKINSON
ir Geoffrey Wilkinson chatted with I-House alumni at the London reunion in September. From left: Wilkinson (IH 1946-'50), Gaby Cohen-Wolff (1947-'48 ), Sir Alfred Sloman (1946-1950 ), and Lady Marie Bergeron Sloman (1947-'48 ).
ne of the chief influences in 20th Century chemistry, Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson, died on September 26, 1996, at the age of 75. Wilkinson, who lived in I-House from 1946-1950, received the 1973 Nobel Prize for his work on organo-metallic compounds.
n 1946, Wilkinson came to live in I-House and joined Professor Glenn Seaborg's research group at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory. He met his wife, Lise, at I- House. Fellow alumnus, Terje Jacobsen recalls Wilkinson.
ow I wish I had been able to attend the International House Reunion in London in September which honored Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson. Geoffrey died only a few weeks later. I first met him 50 years ago at International House. What I recall from that first meeting was his smile, his twinkling eyes and great sense of humour. A wonderful friend, a warm human being. In later years, I had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife, Lise, in London for dinners in Chelsea and even at my home in Norway.
eoffrey's distinguished career as a scientist that brought him the Nobel Prize in 1973 was another side to Geoffrey, in a domain where few could follow. But he was such a richly gifted person, so utterly unaffected, his interests so varied, that he made everybody feel at ease in his presence. Life has been greatly diminished by the loss of Geoffrey.
ilkinson was knighted for his contributions to chemistry in 1976. His major chemical discoveries include firsts in sandwich compounds, thiocarbonyls, fluxional organometallics, and rhodium-based hydroformylation. His work in sandwich compounds had far-reaching effects, leading to the development of new catalysts used in the production of low-lead fuels.
ilkinson is survived by his wife, Lise, and their two daughters.
Copyright © 1996 International House Berkeley.