William Ramsay – A Blue Plaque – 9 February 2011

“][A portrait of William Ramsay]Way back in 2003, the year before the centenary of William Ramsay’s Nobel Prize (he and Lord Rayleigh tracked down argon and then Ramsay found Helium and the rest of the noble gases), my colleague Alwyn Davies and I tossed in an application to English Heritage to get a Blue Plaque placed on the house where he lived back in 1887.

Well eight years later it’s happening – the mills of English Heritage grind slowly – and, for a laugh we’re going to retrace Ramsay’s commute which he claimed to do on a bicycle in 18 minutes back in 1887. An impressive time –  think about it – roads were cobbled and he would have been using a fixed gear heavy steel bike…..

For anyone who might be interested this is the programme:
2 pm – Unveiling of the Blue Plaque – 12 Arundel Gardens, Notting Hill, W11.
220 pm – Ramsay Cycle Ride back to UCL (map)

[A photo of 12 Arundel Gardens snapped in 2003.]

A photo of 12 Arundel Gardens snapped in 2003.

Back at UCL – Ramsay Lecture Theatre, Chemistry Department WC1H 0AJ

330 pm – Prof Alwyn Davies “William Ramsay – The Man, the Myth and the Bicycle”
4 pm – Dr Neil Todd – “Ramsay, Rutherford, and Radioactivity”
430 pm – Prof Bill Brock – “Victorian Scientists from the Wrong Side of the Park”
5 pm – Drinks in the Nyholm Room.
6 pm (approx) – Arrival of UCL’s Provost and Toast to Sir William.

A small companion exhibition of relicks will be installed in the UCL Chemistry Foyer.

The event is sponsored by the Society for Chemical Industry.

The lecture programme should be fun. Prof Alwyn Davies FRS is an eminent chemist who has been with the Department for about 65 years – what there is to know about Ramsay, he knows. Dr Neil Todd has been following the radioactive trails left by Rutherford, Ramsay, and Soddy. We’ve been in touch for a couple of years and he will have a book out soon – it should be pretty edgy stuff that will hit the newspapers again. And Bill Brock is an old friend, alumnus of UCL and Emeritus Professor at Leicester who has written biographies of Liebig and, more recently of William Crookes.

It should be fun.

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About Andrea Sella

My name is Andrea Sella. I teach and do research in chemistry at UCL in central London in the UK. I also spend a lot time doing public science, and worrying about how to keep my family's energy consumption down.
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