New university building heralds success for chemistry department

New university building heralds success for chemistry department

Chemists at the University of York, UK, have been celebrating the official opening of a building dedicated to research in analytical and synthetic chemistry. Construction followed a ?9 million investment by the Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF), which will be followed by a further ?3.3 million for a new centre for magnetic resonance.

’Given that there’s a certain amount of doom and gloom around about the future of chemistry departments in this country, it’s wonderful to be at a baptism rather than a wake,’ said Julia Higgins, chair of the EPSRC, who led the opening celebrations.

The building is named after Dorothy Hodgkin (1910-1994), who won the 1964 Nobel prize in chemistry for her work with x-ray diffraction. She determined the structures of complex biologically important chemicals, notably insulin, vitamin B12, and penicillin.

The head of the university’s chemistry department, Paul Walton, shares Higgins’ enthusiasm. ’The new Dorothy Hodgkin building provides world-class facilities for our analytical chemistry and synthetic organic chemistry research teams in an age when the need for new pharmaceuticals and new means of analysing trace substances are all too evident,’ said Walton. ’It is of real national and international importance that research like this is supported at the university level.’

Hodgkin carried out nearly all her research at the University of Oxford, but spent much of her retirement at the University of York, visiting Guy and Eleanor Dodson, professors of chemistry there, who had worked with her at Oxford on the structure of insulin.

Bea Perks