F. Gordon A. Stone

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"Gordon Stone" redirects here. For the Australian rugby union player, see Gordon Stone (rugby union).
F. Gordon A. Stone
F. Gordon A. Stone.jpg
Royal Society Photo, 1977
Born 19 May 1925
Exeter, Devon, UK
Died 6 April 2011(2011-04-06) (aged 85)
Waco, Texas, USA
Nationality British and American
Institutions Bristol University,
Baylor University
Alma mater Christ's College, Cambridge
Doctoral advisor Emeléus
Notable awards Davy Medal (1989)

Francis Gordon Albert Stone CBE, FRS, FRSC (19 May 1925 – 6 April 2011) was an English chemist who was a prolific and decorated scholar. He specialized in the synthesis of main group and transition metal organometallic compounds.

Early life[edit]

Gordon Stone was born in Exeter, Devon in 1925, the only child of Sidney Charles Stone, a civil servant, and Florence Beatrice Stone (née Coles).[1] He received his B.A. in 1948 and Ph.D. in 1951, both from Christ's College, Cambridge (Cambridge University), England, where he studied under Harry Julius Emeléus. He married Judith Hislop of Sydney, Australia in 1956 with whom he had three sons.

Academic life[edit]

After graduating from Christ's College, Cambridge, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Southern California for two years, before being appointed as an instructor in the Chemistry Department at Harvard University, and was appointed assistant professor in 1957.[1] He was the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Baylor University, Texas until 2010, but his most productive period was as Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Bristol University, England (1963–1990), where he published hundreds of papers over the course of 27 years. In research he competed with his contemporary Geoffrey Wilkinson.

Elected to the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1970, and to the Royal Society in 1976, he was awarded the Davy Medal "In recognition of his many distinguished contributions to organometallic chemistry, including the discovery that species containing carbon-metal of metal-metal multiple bonds are versatile reagents for synthesis of cluster compounds with bonds between different transition elements" in 1989.[2]

Among the many foci of his studies were complexes of fluorocarbon, isocyanide, polyolefin, alkylidene and alkylidyne ligands. At Baylor, he maintained a research program on boron hydrides, a lifelong interest.[3]

In 1988 he chaired the Review Committee commissioned by the British Government (the now-dissolved University Grants Committee) to carry out a review of chemistry in UK academia ("University Chemistry — The Way Forward", "The Stone Report").[4][5] His main recommendation, "that the UGC [...] fund properly not fewer than 30 chemistry departments" and that "at least 20 of these departments have 30 or more academic staff [...] to compete successfully at the international level"[5] was never implemented.[4]

His autobiography Leaving No Stone Unturned, Pathways in Organometallic Chemistry, was published in 1993.[6] With Wilkinson, he edited the influential series Comprehensive Organometallic Chemistry. With Robert West, he edited the series Advances in Organometallic Chemistry.

The Gordon Stone Lecture series at the University of Bristol is named in his honour.[7]



  1. ^ a b Bristol University Obituary, F Gordon A Stone, retrieved 08/03/2012
  2. ^ Barker, Philip (1999). Top 1000 Scientists. Lewes Book Guild. p. 321. ISBN 1857764056. 
  3. ^ Stone, F. G. A.; Emeléus, H. J. "Reaction of diborane with some alkene oxides and vinyl compounds". Journal of the Chemical Society. 1950: 2755–9. doi:10.1039/JR9500002755. 
  4. ^ a b Times Higher Education, Obituary, retrieved 07/04/2012
  5. ^ a b University Chemistry — The Way Forward, The Report of the Chemistry Review, University Grants Committee, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, published 1988, ISBN 0117012122
  6. ^ Leaving No Stone Unturned, Pathways in Organometallic Chemistry, F. Gordon A. Stone, Profiles, Pathways, and Dreams, Series Editor Jeffrey I. Seeman, American Chemical Society, ISBN 0841218269
  7. ^ University of Bristol, Inorganic and Materials Chemistry, http://www.inchm.bris.ac.uk/events_past.htm#stone, retrieved 25/03/2012
  8. ^ F Gordon A Stone, 1925-2011, retrieved 25 October 2012

Further reading[edit]

  • F. Gordon A. Stone, (1993) Leaving No Stone Unturned, Pathways in Organometallic Chemistry, American Chemical Society. Autobiography.
  • A.F. Hill (2005). "Protagonists in Chemistry: F. Gordon A. Stone". Inorganica Chimica Acta. 358 (5): 1343–1344. doi:10.1016/j.ica.2004.12.001. 
  • M. F. Lappert (1995). "Book review; Leaving no stone unturned: Pathways in organometallic chemistry F. Gordon A. Stone". Journal of Organometallic Chemistry. 485 (1–2): C23. doi:10.1016/0022-328X(95)90711-M.