associate of the Centre for Experimental and Constructive Mathematics
A summary curriculum vitae is available.
Molecular spectrometry, applications of mathematics to chemistry, the nature of chemical binding and aspects of scientific communication are four principal fields of my academic endeavour.
Video of lecture given at City College of City University of New York on 2019 December 2nd.
Critique of Pauling and chemistry
To molecular spectrometry I have devoted much effort during five decades, in both experimental and theoretical aspects. In a major project begun in 1959, I was among the first dozen (or so) chemists in the world to employ liquid helium in routine experiments; for the purposes of my research in University of British Columbia it served as a refrigerant for samples that were examined spectrophotometrically in the infrared region. By this means we succeeded to make observations on simple molecular species, such as methanal and water, in a solid phase but in which intermolecular interactions were so small as to produce conditions that the spectral measurements pertained essentially to molecules as if in the gaseous phase, but with an effective temperature near 4 K. In further experiments in University of Cambridge I exploited this capability to form samples of reactive free radicals that could endure for several hours, so allowing protracted spectral observations; these ordinarily ephemeral chemical species were prepared photochemically in situ or in electric discharges before deposition. Spectra of both reactive and unreactive species were subjected to quantitative analysis according to diverse methods, and during further development at Memorial University of Newfoundland I began to formulate sophisticated treatments of spectra of simple compounds, mostly composed of diatomic molecules, that culminated in more than a hundred research articles in reputable journals and a monograph "The Vibrational and Rotational Spectrometry of Diatomic Molecules":
|In relation to this book, a worksheet in Maple, prepared with Maple V release 5.1, is available in two forms, as text readable with this browser and as a worksheet that as a file can be transferred to another machine for execution under Maple.|
In 1973 I began work with symbolic computation, initially with PL1-Formac on IBM 360/50 computer at Australian National University, and subsequently Altran, Reduce and Mathlab and other processors on various computers. After 1980, in which my review making a distinction between stone-age computing and modern mathematical computation appeared in a technical magazine, I presented lectures in several countries around the world on symbolic computation and its applications in teaching and research in science and engineering. In 1982 I was interviewed on ABC Science Show, on Australian national radio network, about symbolic computation and its applications, and separately on community radio station 2XX in Canberra. Also in 1982 I published the first paper in an international journal describing explicit applications of symbolic computation in chemistry, although during the previous two decades a few chemical papers had been published containing results of such computations for specific purposes. An interactive electronic textbook has been published on
Precisely measured spectra of small molecules conventionally yield accurate information about molecular structure and properties, particularly when both mechanical and extra-mechanical effects are taken into account. Structural properties of molecules and chemical matter are naturally associated in the mind of a chemist with the nature of chemical binding. As a result of my research and teaching from the earliest years, and particularly on attending inspiring lectures presented by H. C. Longuet-Higgins in Cambridge, I became aware of a disparity between common descriptions of chemical bonds and a rigorous mathematical basis of such descriptions. Related ideas were eventually published in part in a famous paper in Journal of Chemical Education (volume 67, pages 280-289) with title
For several years
I served as Technical Editor of Chinese Journal of Physics, because of
my appreciation of grammar and composition in technical English, for which
reason I was requested to offer a popular but demanding course in National
Tsing Hua University. Even before being appointed Coordinator of
Metric Conversion in Memorial University of Newfoundland, I became conversant
with the International System of Symbols, Units and Notation. Although
there is general agreement that printed scientific discourse must be both
concise and precise, and that SI units provide a proper medium in which
to express quantitative information, practice is sadly deficient in these
respects, because literary and technical education of scientists in many
countries is deficient.