Roald Hoffman shared his Nobel prize in chemistry with Kenichi Fukui in 1981 Science Photo Library
, chemistry Nobel prize winner in 1981, offers his first selection of poems – distillations of his experiences both inside and outside the laboratory. The metamict state
is a delightful pot pourri for chemists (and others) to dip into.
Many of Hoffmann’s poems have scientific themes, often combined with vivid descriptions from the ‘outside’ world. Some paint a gentler picture of academic life, such as Next slide, which conjures up a picture of a sleepy audience listening to the rather unpolished presentation of a new research student.
In some ways these poems remind one of Betjeman – they show the same acute observation of people and places, the same lack of embroidery.
Chemistry in Britain (March 1988)
Ed. Hoffmann, who remains an emeritus professor at Cornell University in New York, US, followed up his book The metamict state with further poetry collections – Gaps and Verges (1990), Memory Effects (1999) and Soliton (2002). Continuing to demonstrate his creativity Hoffman has also co-written a play with fellow chemist Carl Djerassi, entitled Oxygen, which has been performed worldwide and translated into 10 languages.