David Mellor at the California Institute of Technology, 1937-8, the beginnings of Australian magnetochemistry

CSIRO Publishing
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Journal Article
Historical Records of Australian Science, 2020, 32, (1), pp. 29-29
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© 2020 Australian Academy of Science. David Paver Mellor (1903-80) was a physical inorganic chemist of significant influence in coordination chemistry and chemical education in Australia. He retired in 1970 after a brief appointment as dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of New South Wales, having been head of the School of Chemistry there for more than a decade. Mellor had been appointed to the staff of the University of Sydney in 1929 and was one of the first Australians to use X-ray diffraction techniques for the determination of crystal structures. In 1936 he applied for a year of leave to work with Linus Pauling at the California Institute of Technology, particularly to learn more about crystal structure analysis. On sabbatical leave he spent a period of one year across 1937-8 in California where he carried out work on X-ray diffraction in Linus Pauling's laboratory. Two 1939 articles in Zeitschrift für Kristallographie appeared under his sole authorship as contributions from the California Institute of Technology. Perhaps more significantly, he published a 1938 Journal of the American Chemical Society paper with Charles D. Coryell on the magnetic properties of manganese(II) and cobalt(II) dipyridine chlorides. Mellor returned to Australia fired with enthusiasm for magnetochemistry. He built a magnetic balance and published many papers on the magnetic properties of coordination compounds with collaborators and students. Australian coordination chemistry has a strong tradition in magnetochemistry and that tradition started with Mellor's work at the University of Sydney.
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