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16 October 2014

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Jones the Compound
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Humphrey Owen Jones FRS
1872 - 1912
Coginan and Ebbw Vale Primary Schools
Lewis School for Boys

Jones the Compound

In a nutshell
Chemist Humphrey Owen Jones discovered carbon monosulphide, pioneering in his field before he and his bride fell to their untimely deaths high in the Alps.

Track record
Hughes was a brilliant student, getting a 'starred' First at Cambridge in Natural Sciences in 1900 - so 'star' ratings for A grades are nothing new.

In 1901 he got a job as demonstrator to Professor Sir James Dewar, famous for his thermos flask. As well as chemistry, he was mad about mountaineering, both in Wales and the Alps.

Humphrey Owen Jones came to an untimely end, but during his short life he:

  • pioneered analysis of nickel and metal carbonyls
  • discovered a new substance, carbon monosylphide
  • carried out cutting edge research on crystals

He married Muriel Gwendolen Edwards, first woman Fellow of the University of Wales. She was passionate about chemistry and mountaineering too so they went to the Alps on their honeymoon. A fortnight later, on 15 August 1912, they were both dead, killed in a fall on to a glacier.

The Science
Jones worked on organic acids and on organic compounds of nitrogen. Later, with Sir James Dewar, he pioneered analyses of nickel and metal carbonyls.

He discovered a new substance, carbon monosylphide, and produced insights into the composition of complex carbonates and ammonium compounds. He was an acknowledged authority on stereochemistry. He also explored phenomena of polarisation of light by crystals like Iceland Spar.

Where do Wales' great Scientists come from?


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