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Neil Bartlett

For the playwright see Neil Bartlett

Neil Bartlett is a Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.


Neil Bartlett was born September 15, 1932 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom.[1] Bartlett's interest in chemistry dated back to an experiment in grammar school when he was only twelve year old, in which he prepared "beautiful, well-formed" crystals by reaction of aqueous ammonia with copper sulfate. He explored chemistry by constructing a makeshift lab in his parent’s home using chemicals and glassware he purchased from a local supply store. He went on to attend King's College,University of Durham in the United Kingdom where he obtained a Bachelor of Science (1954) and then a doctorate (1958). In 1954 Bartlett's career began upon being appointed a lecturer in chemistry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada where he would ultimately reach the rank of full professor. During his time at the university he made his seminal discovery that noble gases were indeed reactive enough to form bonds. He remained there until 1966, when he moved to Princeton University as a professor of chemistry and a member of the research staff at Bell Laboratories. He then went on to join the chemistry department at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969 as a professor of chemistry until his retirement in 1993. He was also a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 1969 to 1999. In 2000 he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.


In 1962 he prepared the first noble gas compound, xenon hexafluoroplatinate, Xe+[PtF6]-. This contradicted all ideas chemists had of the nature of valency, as it was assumed that xenon, like all noble gases, was totally inert to chemical combination. (This had been explained by such theoretical treatments as Gilbert N. Lewis' octet rule.) He subsequently produced several other compounds of xenon: XeF2, XeF4, and XeF6.


In 1973 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society (United Kingdom). In 1979 he was honored as a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (U. S. A.). In 2006 research into the reactivity of noble gases was designated an ACS National Historical Chemical Landmark in recognition of its significance to the scientific understanding of the chemical bond.[2]

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Neil_Bartlett". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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