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Biographical entry Duncan, James Francis (1921 - 2001)

OBE, FRSNZ, FNZIC, FRACS

Born
1921
Liverpool, England
Died
January 2001
Mahau Sound, New Zealand
Occupation
Chemist

Summary

James Francis Duncan joined the Chemistry Department at the University of Melbourne in 1953 as reader in radiochemistry. He then moved to New Zealand and was appointed Chair of Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry at Victoria University in New Zealand (1961- 1986), foundation member of the National Development Council of New Zealand (1969 - 1974) and Chair of the Commission of the Future (1975 - 1982).

Details

In 1939 James Duncan received a scholarship to study at Jesus College Oxford, where he obtained a Masters of Art and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in chemistry. During the war James had to postpone his studies when seconded to the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell, England. There he worked on alloys for the top secret atomic bomb program. He completed his PhD once the war finished and remained at Harwell until 1953. Duncan then moved to Melbourne to work at the University of Melbourne in radiochemistry. During his nine years as Reader at the University he co-wrote Modern Radiochemical Practiceand authored the standard radiochemistry text book Isotopes in Chemistry. In 1961 James Duncan moved to Wellington as a chair in chemistry at Victoria University. He remained in that post until he retired in 1986. He advanced the university's teaching to include nuclear gamma ray resonance (Mössbauer) spectroscopy and expanded his own research to include solid-state chemistry. In 1964 Duncan organized the first Wellington Secondary School Science Fair which he developed into a national, annual event. From 1969 to1974 he was foundation member of the National Development Council of New Zealand and in 1975 was appointed Chair to the Commission of the Future, a body he persuaded the government to establish. James Duncan's contributions to science and society were recognized through an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), a Doctor of Science (Oxford University) and Fellowships of the Royal Society of New Zealand (FRSNZ), the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (FNZIC) and the Royal Australian Chemical Society (FRACS).

Events

1939
Award - Student scholarship received from Jesus College Oxford, UK
c. 1941 - 1953
Career position - Researcher at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell, UK
1953 - 1960
Career position - Reader in Radiochemistry at the University of Melbourne
1961 - 1986
Career position - Chair in Chemistry at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand
1969 - 1974
Career position - Foundation member of the National Development Council of New Zealand
1975 - 1982
Career position - Chair of the Commission of the Future, New Zealand

Published resources

Online Resources

Annette Alafaci