Papers of William Alexander Waters FRS, Fellow and Benefactor of the College (1903-1985)
This collection comprises the surviving papers of William Alexander Waters FRS, Fellow and Benefactor of the College (1903-1985). He was a pioneer in the study of organic free radicals in solution, working at the Universities of Cambridge (1924-7, PhD 1927), Durham (1928-1945, on war work from 1939) and Oxford (1945-1970, but continuing at the at the bench on an occasional basis until ca 1977). He was a Fellow of the College 1945-1970, and an Emeritus Fellow thereafter until his death. When he vacated his Balliol room in 1970 he destroyed most of his scientific correspondence and papers; he threw out almost all the rest when he moved out of his office in the Dyson Perrins Laboratory some years later. A few items were salvaged with his knowledge in 1970, and two years before he died he asked Dr John Jones to sort out and arrange his remaining scientific papers and books, all of which he left to the College in his will. The primary interest of the collection is in connection with the history of physical organic chemistry.
1. Material concerning WAW’s degrees, appointments, honours, presentations, medals etc. Of particular interest:
2. Photographs, including many (both formal and informal) of WAW, from childhood to old age.
3. WAW’s Cambridge and Durham personal laboratory notebooks, 1925-1939, 11 vols; also his first Oxford notebook, 1945
4. WAW’s later Oxford personal laboratory notebooks 1959 and 1970-1977, 9 vols.
5. Drafts, correspondence, spare copies etc, concerning WAW’s ‘Some Comments on the Development of Free Radical Chemistry’, Notes and Records 1984, 105. The correspondence includes letters commenting on the article from:
8. A box of slides taken by WAW on a trip to Russia, including some slides of N Semenov (Nobel Laureate)
9. A collection of offprints of DH Hey FRS
10. 2 mineralogy notebooks, not dated but apparently about 1925, with careful detailed notes and crystallographic diagrams all in WAW’s hand.
12. Alan Robertson, PhD thesis ‘The Liquid Phase Oxidation of Hydrocarbons’, University of Durham 1947, concerning work done partly at Durham and partly at Oxford, under WAW’s supervision.
13. WAW’s PhD thesis ‘Substitution in the Diphenyl Series,’ University of Cambridge 1927, supervisors H McCombie and HA Scarborough.
14. WAW’s collected scientific papers 1926-1979, bound in four volumes.
15. DH Hey and WAW, ‘Some organic reactions involving the occurrence of free radicals in solutions,’ Chemical Reviews, 1937, 169, a spare offprint.
16. Copies of books by or edited by WAW, some with annotations:
17. ‘A discussion on the applications of electron spin resonance in the study of reactive intermediates in chemical reactions’, an offprint of the proceedings of a Discussion organised by WAW: Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 1968, 287.
For additional personal and biographical material see WAW’s dossier in the College Archives. No copy of WAW’s first book ‘An introduction to practical organic chemistry’ (1934) was found.
18. Added Sept 1986: correspondence, etc, concerning the Royal Society Memoir of WAW, including letters from associates with information and recollections.
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