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Biographical entry Jordan, Denis Oswald (1914 - 1982)


23 September 1914
London, England
12 February 1982
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


Denis Jordan was professor of inorganic and physical chemistry at the University of Adelaide 1954-1979. His studies on the effects of denaturing conditions on the properties of nucleic acids set the scene for the discovery by others of complementary 'sticky ends', knowledge which was crucial to the methods of gene technology. He also studied the relationship between the chemical and stereochemical structure of polymers and their solution properties.


Born London, 23 September 1914. Died Adelaide, 12 February 1982. AO 1980. Educated University of London (BSc 1936, MSc 1939, PhD 1944, DSc 1952). Laboratory Assistant, British Launderers' Research Association 1933-39; Assistant Lecturer in Applied Chemistry, University College Nottinghamshire (University of Nottingham from 1948) 1939-47, Lecturer in Physical Chemistry 1947-54; Assistant Senior, then Senior Gas Adviser in the North Midland Region for the Ministry of Home Security and Extra-Mural Research Supervisor for the Ministry of Supply on the action of war gases on nucleic acids and related compounds during World War II; Professor of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, University of Adelaide 1954-55, Angas Professor of Physical and Inorganic Chemistry and Head of Department 1955-79, Dean of the Faculty of Science 1958-59, Pro-Vice-Chancellor 1974-75. Involved in formation of Polymer Division, Royal Australian Chemical Institute and first recipient of its Polymer Medal, later renamed the Jordan Medal. Fellow, Australian Academy of Science 1970; Leighton Medal, Royal Australian Chemical Institute 1981. President, Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering 1958-59, 1961-62; president, Royal Australian Chemical Institute 1979. The Jordan Laboratories at the University of Adelaide were named in his honour in 1981.

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Denis Oswald Jordan


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