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Bruce D. James

by Susan J. Ainsworth
January 31, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 5

Bruce D. James, 67, an emeritus scholar in inorganic chemistry at La Trobe University, in Melbourne, Australia, died after heart surgery on July 8, 2009.

Born in Bolton, England, James attended the University of Sheffield, earning an undergraduate degree in chemistry with honors in 1964 and a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1967 under M. G. H. Wallbridge for work on transition-metal-borohydride systems.

He then moved to the U.S., spending a year as a National Aeronautics & Space Administration postdoctoral fellow under Eugene C. Ashby at Georgia Institute of Technology. James then worked briefly as an assistant professor at Georgia State University, in Atlanta.

In 1970, James joined the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia, as a senior tutor. With an aptitude for translating inorganic research topics of the day into practical laboratory experiments, he authored papers in the Journal of Chemical Education such as “The Busy Student’s Guide to the Nitration of tris-Acetylacetonates of Cobalt(III) and Chromium(III)” (DOI: 10.1021/ed051p568).

In 1975, James moved to La Trobe University as a research fellow; he became a reader and associate professor in 1987. He played a significant role in overseas teaching projects with universities in the Philippines and Thailand. Focusing his research in organometallic compounds and materials science, he contributed to about 150 scholarly publications.

He was a member of numerous professional organizations, including ACS, which he joined in 1974.

An enthusiastic rugby league fan in his youth, James became a fan of American football and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during his 1987 sabbatical at the University of South Florida, in Tampa.

James is survived by his wife of 45 years, Pauline; son, Stephen; and daughter, Caroline.



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