Record

Reference numberHWT
Alternative reference numberNCUACS 2/1/88
LevelFonds
TitleProfessional papers of Harold Warris Thompson
Date1934 - 1984
DescriptionThe papers are extensive but by no means comprehensive. There is no personal or biographical material and very little record of Thompson's research. On the other hand his contributions to international science and football are extensively documented. There is a very full record of Thompson's Foreign Secretaryship of the Royal Society and his organisation for the European chemical conferences (EUCHEM) and substantial documentation of his work for ICSU and IUPAC, including the Commission on Molecular Spectroscopy and thre Triple Commission on Spectroscopy. Thompson's contributions to international relations were not limited to science (or football) and he kept detailed records of his Chairmanship from 1972 of the Great Britain - China Committee (later Great Britain - China Centre). The football papers are substantial, particularly for the last decade of Thompson's life, and there is full documentation of his Chairmanship of the Football Association and of the many problems facing football at that time, including hooliganism amongst its supporters.
LanguageEnglish
Extent1418 folders, 91 volumes and 123 loose sheets (40 linear feet)
ArrangementBy section as follows: Research and teaching; Royal Society; Societies and organisations; Visits and conferences; Football Association. Index of correspondents.
Access statusOpen
Administrative historyThompson was born in Wombwell, South Yorkshire, and educated at King Edward VII School, Sheffield and Trinity College, Oxford where his tutor was C.N. Hinshelwood. He gained first class honours in Natural Sciences (Chemistry) in 1929. He then spent a year researching in Berlin with F.Haber before returning to Oxford to take up a Fellowship at St. John's College. Thompson quickly established himself as one of the finest teachers in the university and many of his students went on to great scientific distinction and included F.S. Dainton, C.F. Kearton, J.W. Linnett, R.E. Richards and D.H. Whiffen, all of whom became Fellows of the Royal Society. Thompson's main research interest in Berlin had been gas reactions but on his return to Oxford he focused his research activity in the area of chemical spectroscopy and in particular work on the infra red. During the Second World War he worked for the Ministry of Aircraft Production in collaboration with G.B.B.M. Sutherland on the infrared spectroscopic analysis of enemy aviation fuels, and in 1943 he and Sutherland were members of a British scientific mission which visited the USA on behalf of the Ministry. After the war Thompson continued to play a major role in demonstrating how infra red spectra might be applied to a very wide range of chemical studies. He contributed to international science as Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, 1965-1971, when the Society's overseas activities were greatly expanded, and as President of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) 1963-1966 and of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) 1973-1975. Throughout his life Thompson gave devoted service to football, from amateur player in his youth to, successively, Vice Chairman, Vice President and Chairman of the Football Association, 1976-1981.Thompson was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1946 (Davy Medal 1965) and was knighted in 1968.
Related materialThe Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, Bodleian Library, Oxford University holds correspondence between Thompson and Charles Alfred Coulson covering 1959-1964
Fellows associated with this archive
CodeNameDates
NA5973Thompson; Sir; Harold Warris (1908 - 1983); chemist1908 - 1983
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