Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of SIR REX EDWARD RICHARDS FRS (b.1922)

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This record is held by Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections

Details of Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of SIR REX EDWARD RICHARDS FRS (b.1922)
Title: Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of SIR REX EDWARD RICHARDS FRS (b.1922)
Reference: NCUACS 12.5.89
Description:

The material is presented in the order given in the List of Contents. There is good documentation of Richards's research and lectures on nmr and an extensive scientific correspondence.

 

Section A, Notebooks, brings together research notes, student records and notes and drafts for lectures in this format. It includes a Colyton Grammar School notebook with sixth form physics experiments, first year undergraduate essays written for H W Thompson and, from the period of Richard's Research Fellowship at Harvard 1955, lectures by E M Purcell on nuclear magnetism.

 

Section B, Research, presents the material relating to Richards's scientific research not in notebook format. It includes early work with H W Thompson on penicillin as well as the later nmr work. Oxford Enzyme Group papers are not presented here. They will form a separate collection for deposit in the Bodleian Library.

 

Section C, Lectures and publications, presents lectures material not in notebook format and material relating to Richards's publications and editorial responsibilities. Documentation of his own publications is slight with the exception of the second (1964) edition of Numerical problems in advanced physical chemistry, prepared with J H Wolfenden and E E Richards.

 

Section D, Oxford, is very slight but includes material relating to the Natural Science Club of which Richards was secretary for many years until 1976.

 

Section E, Societies and organisations, documents Richards's association with nineteen British organisations including the Advisory Board for the Research Councils, the Advisory Council for Applied Research and Development, the Chemical Society and the Royal Society, and one European organisation, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory which he advised on nmr. The Royal Society material includes comprehensive records of Richards's chairmanship of its Hooke Committee, the committee responsible for organising Royal Society discussion meetings and review lectures.

 

Section F, Visits and conferences, is very slight but includes material relating to a visit to the USSR in 1963 and a number of nmr conferences, especially in America.

 

Section G, Correspondence, is the largest in the collection. Richards's correspondence files relate principally to his undergraduate chemistry students at Lincoln and those who researched in various capacities in his laboratory. There are also important sequences of correspondence with manufacturers of nmr equipment including the Perkin-Elmer Corporation and Varian associates.

 

Section H, Biographical, presents material for a 'profile' of Richards's career. There is also documentation for posts he was asked to consider but declined, including a Harvard Professorship in 1956. Photographs are also presented in this Section.

Date: 1928-1988
Held by: Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections, not available at The National Archives
Arrangement:

SECTION A NOTEBOOKS A.1 - A. 36

 

SECTION B RESEARCH B.1 - B. 81

 

SECTION C LECTURES AND PUBLICATIONS C.1 - C. 72

 

SECTION D OXFORD D.1 - D.12

 

SECTION E SOCIETIES AND ORGANISATIONS E.1 - E.113

 

SECTION F VISITS AND CONFERENCES F.1 - F. 15

 

SECTION G CORRESPONDENCE G.1 - G.214

 

SECTION H BIOGRAPHICAL H.1 - H. 66

Language: English
Extent: 69 boxes
Administrative History:

Rex Edward Richards was born in Colyton, Devon in 1922. He was educated at the local grammar school and St John's College Oxford. He graduated with First Class Honours in 1945 and undertook research on infrared spectroscopy with H W (later Sir Harold) Thompson obtaining his D.Phil. in 1948. In 1947 he was elected a Fellow and Tutor in Chemistry at Lincoln College and in 1964 succeeded Sir Cyril Hinshelwood as Dr Lee's Professor of Chemistry. He became Warden of Merton College in 1969 when he transferred his research to the Department of Biochemistry. He served as the Vice Chancellor of Oxford University for the period 1977-81. In 1984 Richards gave up both the Warden's Lodgings and the research laboratory to become Director of the Leverhulme Trust. Since 1982 he has been Chancellor of Exeter University.

 

Richards's research focussed on nuclear magnetic resonance (nmr) spectroscopy. He was one of the early workers in the field after the war and has been at the forefront of the application of nmr techniques to chemical problems and a leader in the design and development of nmr equipment. In the 1960s he became interested in biological applications of nmr, a change of direction facilitated by the move to the Biochemistry Department and the development of new nmr instruments using super-conducting magnets. In 1969 (the year of the move to Biochemistry) Richards and a number of colleagues from eight scientific departments formed the Oxford Enzyme Group, a consortium of researchers from different disciplines who agreed to contribute a significant part of their research effort to a collaborative venture. Richards was the chairman of the Enzyme Group from its beginning until 1984.

 

Richards's scientific achievements have been recognised with numerous honours and awards. In 1954 he received the Corday-Morgan Medal of the Chemical Society and in 1977 the Chemical Society Award in Theoretical Chemistry and Spectroscopy. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1959 and awarded its Davy Medal in 1976 and a Royal Medal in 1986. He received a Knighthood in the Queen's Jubilee Honours List in 1977.

Unpublished Finding Aids:
  • There is an index of individuals, societies, organisations and firms available.

Subjects:
  • Chemistry
Creator Names:
  • Richards, Sir Rex Edward, 1922 -, Knight, chemist
Immediate Source Of Acquisition:
  • The papers were received in November 1987 and June and November 1988 from Sir Rex Richards.

Conditions of access:

NOT ALL THE MATERIAL IN THE COLLECTION IS YET AVAILABLE FOR CONSULTATION. ENQUIRIES SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN THE FIRST INSTANCE TO:

 

THE KEEPER OF WESTERN MANUSCRIPTS

 

BODLEIAN LIBRARY

 

OXFORD

Note:

Compiled by Peter Harper and Timothy E Powell

 

The work of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and organisations:

 

The Biochemical Society

 

The British Library

 

The City of Bath

 

The Geological Society

 

The Institute of Physics

 

Pergamon Books

 

The Royal Society

 

The Royal Society of Chemistry

 

The Society of Chemical Industry

 

We are very grateful to Sir Rex Richards for making the material available, and for his advice and encouragement.

"
Related Material:
  • The Science Museum London has the following nuclear magnetic resonance equipment and laboratory notebooks:

     

    1976- 652: Electromagnet for nuclear magnetic resonance experiments, comprising cast iron yoke and six hand coils (4 original and 2 later) constructed by Richards ca 1951-53.

     

    1976- 653: Two manuscript laboratory notebooks, compiled by Richards, and co-worker during construction of nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, ca 1953.

     

    1980- 649: Prototype of the first permanent magnet used for nuclear magnetic resonance experiments outside the US built by Mullards for Richards who used it for practical demonstrations, ca 1956.

     

    1988- 621: First permanent magnet for high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance made by Mullards for Richards, 1959-60.

Link to NRA Record:

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