Nature 138, 18-18 (04 July 1936) | doi:10.1038/138018a0

Retirement of Prof. W. A. Bone, F.R.S.


AT the end of the present session, Prof. W. A. Bone vacates, under the age limit, the chair of chemical technology at the Imperial College of Science, which he has held for the past twenty-five years. A graduate of Owens College, Manchester, he studied under Prof. H. B. Dixon and later, when lecturer there in chemistry and metallurgy, he carried out those classical investigations into the slow and explosive combustion of hydrocarbons which have done so much to elucidate the mechanism of their oxidation, and enabled him to formulate the hydroxy -lation theory. In 1905, he became the first Livesey professor of coal gas and fuel industries in the University of Leeds, and there laid the broad foundations of the new branch of science, fuel technology; there also, in collaboration with McCourt, he invented and developed surface combustion. At South Kensington, Prof. Bone was faced in 1912 with the task of building up a new Department of Chemical Technology, and under his inspiring leadership a research school of world-wide reputation has been created. His field has covered high-pressure explosions and gas reactions, flame spectra, the study by high-speed photography of flame movements in gaseous explosions, the chemical constitution of coal and gas reactions in the blast furnace. At a dinner on June 17, given in honour both of Prof. Bone and Mr. W. C. Hancock who is also retiring from the lecturing staff of the Department, a distinguished gathering including many old colleagues and students assembled, and suitable presentations were made. Fortunately Prof. Bone’s retirement does not mean the ending of his scientific activities, for the College authorities, strongly supported by industry and other outside bodies, are providing a new research laboratory in which he will be enabled to pursue those investigations on which he is still actively engaged.