BSc (Copenhagen) Chemistry, PhD (ANU) Chemistry, DSc (Copenhagen) Chemistry, FAA
Emeritus Professor of Organic Chemistry, Chair, National Committee for Chemistry. Editor-in-Chief, Australian Journal of Chemistry
+61 7 3365 3817
Post-doctoral fellow (Reseach Assistant), Maitre-Assistant, Assistant Professor Université de Lausanne Switzerland (1969-76)
Professor of Chemistry Universität Marburg Germany, (1976-85)
Chair of Organic Chemistry and Head of Organic Chemistry Section The University of Queensland (1985-2008)
Emeritus professor The University of Queensland (2008-)


Research Focus and Collaborations: 

1. Flash Vacuum Thermolysis (FVT) and matrix isolation/matrix photochemistry to investigate reaction mechanism and reactivity of novel and/or transient molecular species.
Investigation of thermal and photochemical carbene and nitrene reactions, employing matrix isolation at cryogenic temperatures, IR, UV and ESR spectroscopy. Interconversion of nitrenes and carbenes. Ring closure to azirenes and ring expansion to 7-membered ring ketenimines and carbodiimides. Ring opening to diradicals and ylides (nitrile ylides; diazo compounds). Cascades of reactive intermediates (nitrenes, carbenes, azirenes, dehydroazepines, diradicals and ylides).
The 2-pyridylnitrene rearrangement can be employed effectively in room temperature solution photochemical syntheses of 1,3-diazepines and 1,3-diazepin-2-ones.

 1,4-Triazepines and quniazolines are also synthesized.


2. FVT and Microwave-assisted organic synthesis, employing reactions of reactive intermediates.
This includes the synthesis of novel cumulenes of the type RN=C=C=C=O and RN=C=C=C=S. Several of these compounds are stable at room temperature. Their reactions and application in heterocyclic synthesis have been explored, inter alia synthesis of pharmaceutically interesting compounds such as (benzo)-1,4-diazepinones, quinolones, thioquinolones, diazocinones, and mesoionic compounds. The iminopropadienones RN=C=C=C=O have mostly been prepared by flash vacuum thermolysis, but recent work has demonstrated that synthetically interesting reactions (e.g. quinolone formation) can be carried out rapidly and efficiently using microwave (MW) irradiation in solution.


3. Isocyanates, nitrile oxides and their isomers, thio derivatives, interconversions and rearrangements, e.g.

RX-N=C=Y <-> RY-CNX.

Collaborations with Dr David Kvaskoff, Prof. Paul V. Bernhardt, Dr. Rainer Koch (Oldenburg, DE), Dr Pascal Gerbaux (Mons, BE), Prof. Gert Kollenz (Graz, AT), Prof. Anna Chrostowska and Dr Didier Begue (Pau, FR).

Significant Professional Activities and Awards: 
  • Editor-in-Chief, Australian Journal of Chemistry.
  • Chair, National Committee for Chemistry (Australian Academy of Science).
  • Organizer of Heron Island Conferences on Reactive Intermediates and Unusual Molecules.
  • Visiting professor, Université de Provence; Université de Pau.