Neil Bartlett

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Neil Bartlett (* 15. September 1932 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne , England; † 5. August 2008 in Walnut Creek , California, USA) was a British - American chemist , the mainly for his pioneering breakthrough in the noble gas chemistry awareness attained.


Neil Bartlett was born in England on September 15, 1932. He began to be interested in chemistry at an early age and as a child he set up a small laboratory in his parents' house where he carried out experiments with chemicals from the local store. After graduating from high school, he went to the University of Durham , where he graduated from Percy Lucock Robinson in 1954 and received his doctorate in 1958. In the same year the appointment came from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (Canada), where he finally became professor. During his time at this university he made his breakthrough in noble gas chemistry. In 1966 he moved to Princeton as a professor , where he did research at the well-known Bell laboratories .

The Royal Society of Chemistry awarded him the Corday Morgan Medal in 1962 . In 1964 he became a Sloan Research Fellow . In 1969 he was elected a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina , he was also a member of the Royal Society (1973), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1977), the National Academy of Sciences (1979) and the Académie des Sciences (1989), the Royal Society of Canada (2001) and the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen . From 1969 until his retirement in 1993, Bartlett was Professor of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. However, he worked as a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory until 1999 . He obtained US citizenship in 2000. Neil Bartlett died of an aortic aneurysm on August 5, 2008 .


During his time as a lecturer at the University of British Columbia, Bartlett dealt with noble gases that were previously considered inert , i.e. non-reactive. In the course of his research, Bartlett found that dioxygen O 2 can easily be oxidized to the dioxygenyl cation O 2 + by platinum hexafluoride PtF 6 . Based on the knowledge that the first ionization energy of xenon is almost equal to the first ionization energy of dioxygen, Bartlett assumed that xenon must also be oxidized by platinum hexafluoride. In the experiment this assumption turned out to be correct, however, it was not, as initially assumed, Xe + PtF 6 - , but a mixture of fluoroxenyl compounds. Shortly after this breakthrough, the German chemist Rudolf Hoppe succeeded in synthesizing xenon difluoride XeF 2 in Münster .


  • Janiak, Klapötke, Meyer: Modern inorganic chemistry. Founded by Erwin Riedel. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1999, pp. 40-41.
  • Karl O. Christe : Neil Bartlett (1932-2008). In: Nature . Volume 455, 2008, p. 182, doi: 10.1038 / 455182a .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. biographical data, publications and Academic pedigree of Neil Bartlett at, accessed on January 6, 2018th