A. David Buckingham

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A. David Buckingham
Born (1930-01-28) 28 January 1930 (age 88)
Sydney, Australia
Nationality Australian
Alma mater Cambridge University
Known for Theory of electric, magnetic and optical properties of molecules
Theory of intermolecular forces
Awards Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences (2006)
Scientific career
Fields Theoretical chemistry
Chemical physics
Institutions Oxford University
University of Bristol
Cambridge University
Doctoral advisor John Pople
Notable students Laurence D. Barron
Brian Orr

Amyand David Buckingham, CBE, FRS, FAA (born 28 January 1930 in Pymble, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) is a chemist, with primary expertise in chemical physics.[1] He is currently Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom and Emeritus Fellow at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He obtained a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science, under Professor Raymond Le Fevre,[2] from the University of Sydney and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge supervised by John Pople.[3] He was an 1851 Exhibition Senior Student in the Physical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Oxford from 1955–57, Lecturer and then Student (Fellow) at Christ Church, Oxford from 1955–65 and University Lecturer in the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory from 1958 - 65. He was Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Bristol from 1965 - 69. He was appointed Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge in 1969.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1975 and a Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1992. He is a member of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science.[4] Buckingham was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2008 as a Corresponding Fellow.

He was awarded the first Ahmed Zewail Prize[5] in Molecular Sciences for pioneering contributions to the molecular sciences in 2006.

He also played 10 first class cricket matches for Cambridge University and Free Foresters between 1955 and 1960, scoring 349 runs including two half-centuries at an average of 18.36.[6]

Scientific contributions[edit]

Professor Buckingham's research has focussed on the measurement and understanding of the electric, magnetic and optical properties of molecules; as well as on the theory of intermolecular forces.

Initially he worked on dielectric properties of liquids, such as dipole moments of molecules in both solution and gas phases. He developed the theory of the interaction of molecules in liquids and gases with external electric and magnetic fields. In 1959, he proposed a direct method of measurement of molecular quadrupole moments of molecules (measured in buckinghams),[7] which he demonstrated experimentally in 1963 on the carbon dioxide molecule.[8] In 1960, he developed theories of solvent effects on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra and vibrational spectra of molecules.[9][10] In 1962 he considered the effect on NMR spectra of molecular orientation in a strong electric field, and developed a method to determine the absolute sign of the spin-spin coupling constant.[11] In 1968, he determined the first accurate values of hyperpolarizability using the Kerr effect.[12] In 1971 Buckingham and Laurence Barron pioneered the study of Raman optical activity, due to differences in the Raman scattering of left and right-polarized light by chiral molecules.[13]

In the 1980s, he showed the importance of long-range intermolecular forces in determining the structure and properties of small molecule clusters, with particular applications in biological macromolecules. In 1990 he predicted the linear effect of an electric field on the reflection of light at interfaces.[14] In 1995, he proved that the sum of the rotational strengths of all vibrational transitions from the ground state of a chiral molecule is zero.[15]


  1. ^ Anon (1996). "Amyand David Buckingham". Molecular Physics. 87 (4): 711–724. Bibcode:1996MolPh..87..711.. doi:10.1080/00268979600100491.
  2. ^ Aroney, M. J.; Buckingham, A. D. (1988). "Raymond James Wood Le Fevre. 1 April 1905-26 August 1986". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 34: 374. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1988.0014.
  3. ^ Buckingham, A. D. (2006). "John Anthony Pople". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 52: 299–310. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2006.0021.
  4. ^ "A. David Buckingham: International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science". Archived from the original on 16 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Elsevier announces the winner of the first Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences". Archived from the original on 16 March 2012.
  6. ^ "A. David Buckingham | England Cricket | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo". Archived from the original on 16 March 2012.
  7. ^ Buckingham A.D., Direct method of measuring molecular quadrupole moments, J. Chem. Phys., 30, 1959, 1580-1585
  8. ^ Buckingham, A. D.; Disch, R. L. (1963). "The Quadrupole Moment of the Carbon Dioxide Molecule". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 273 (1353): 275. Bibcode:1963RSPSA.273..275B. doi:10.1098/rspa.1963.0088.
  9. ^ Buckingham A.D., Schaffer T. and Schneider W.G. Solvent effects in nuclear magnetic resonance spectra, J. Chem. Phys., 32, 1960, 1227-1233
  10. ^ Buckingham A.D., Solvent effects in vibrational spectroscopy, Trans. Faraday Society, 56, 1960, 753-760
  11. ^ Buckingham A.D. and Lovering E.G., Effects of a strong electric fields on NMR spectra. The absolute sign of the spin coupling constant, Transactions Faraday Society, 58, 2077-2081 (1962)
  12. ^ Buckingham A.D. and Hibbard P., Polarizability and Hyperpolarizability of the Helium Atom, Symp. Faraday Society, 2, 1968, 41-47
  13. ^ Barron L.D. and Buckingham A.D., Rayleigh and Raman Scattering from optically active molecules, Molecular Physics, 20, 1971, 1111-1119 (1971)
  14. ^ Buckingham A.D. Linear and nonlinear light scattering from the surface of liquids, Australian Journal of Physics, 43, 617-624 (1990)
  15. ^ Buckingham A.D. The theoretical background to vibrational optical activity, Faraday Discussions, 99, 1-12 (1994)Abstract

See also[edit]