D359 - Burnett, Mr W. A. S. - 1932-1935
Inorganic Chemistry Lecture notes and practical work 1932-1935; Organic Chemistry notes and practical work 1932-1934; Physical Chemistry lecture notes and practical work 1932-1935; Instructions for practical work and copies of examination papers [c. 1934], 1935; photograph of graduands 1935<...
|Archive level description:
Inorganic Chemistry Lecture notes and practical work 1932-1935; Organic Chemistry notes and practical work 1932-1934; Physical Chemistry lecture notes and practical work 1932-1935; Instructions for practical work and copies of examination papers [c. 1934], 1935; photograph of graduands 1935
Mr. Burnett states that whilst at the University he kept lecture notes for the Chemistry part of the course only. With only a few gaps, the Chemistry lecture notes which Mr. Burnett has given (D359) cover the entire three years, 1932-35. Most of these lecture notes are "fair copies", written up very shortly after the lectures, but a few of them were apparently made during the actual lectures. The notes are in pen and ink and are illustrated by diagrams, etc. Mr. Burnett made fair copies of his lecture notes to make sure he had understood the lectures, to serve for revision purposes later, and to provide a comprehensible and completely legible record of the lectures. A number of the notebooks used are those with the name and coat of arms of the University printed on the cover and supplied by Philip, Son & Nephew, Ltd., 3, Bedford Street North, Liverpool.
For details of the Chemistry courses during the period 1932-35 see the Faculty of Science Prospectus of Courses which provides an outline of the subjects covered by each course. The holders of the Chemistry Chairs during this period were: Professor E.C.C. Baly, F.R.S. (Grant Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, 1910-37), Professor W.C.McC. Lewis, F.R.S. (Brunner Professor of Physical Chemistry, 1913-37), Professor [later Sir] I.M. Heilbron, F.R.S. (Heath Harrison Professor of Organic Chemistry, 1920-33), and Professor Alexander Robertson (later F.R.S.) (Heath Harrison Professor of Organic Chemistry, 1933-57). Mr. Burnett did not attend any lectures by Professors Heilbron or Robertson.
As regards Professor Baly's formaldehyde hypothesis (see note prefacing list of D359/1-5), Mr Burnett notes that Baly's (and other people's) formaldehyde hypotheses are referred to in the botanical literature of the period when dealing with photosynthesis. C S Steele, An Introduction to Plant Biochemistry (London, 1949) gives an account of them on pp.59-60, stating that "Baly and his school have shown that carbohydrates can be formed by irradiating solutions of carbon dioxide with visible light in conjunction with coloured absorbing substances such as nickel and cobalt salts." GE Fogg, The Growth of Plants, (Pelican, 1963) p.118 refers to the fact that "the formaldehyde hypothesis is now only of historical interest."
|These papers were given by Mr. Burnett in response to the "appeal" in Convocation Annual Report 1986.
Mr. Burnett entered the University in October 1932 and, studying Pure Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry, passed the B.Sc. (Higher Standard) Finals in 1934. He was awarded B.Sc. Honours in Chemistry (Physical and Inorganic) in 1935. During his period at the University, Mr. Burnett held the Pennington (Peace) Scholar-ship, awarded by the Borough of Bootle. Mr. Burnett had to study Pure Mathematics (Intermediate only) because he had only taken it as a subsidiary subject in the Higher School Certificate and therefore could not be excused it at University. This threw his timetable out-of-balance, so that he had to do 1st-Year Physics in the second year and Organic Chemistry practical work in the third year. Mr. Burnett was not awarded the B.Sc. degree in 1934 having only been at the University for two years instead of the required three.
After graduating, Mr. Burnett joined H.M. Patent Office in London as an Assistant Examiner, having come top in an open competitive examination which over one hundred sat (for five advertised posts). Mr. Burnett remained at the Patent Office for the remainder of his career, except for the War years, until he retired, as a Principal Examiner, in 1970.
During the Second World War, Mr. Burnett was at first seconded to another division of the Board of Trade, but was called up in March 1941 into the RAMC where he eventually qualified as a radiographer. He then went on a radar course and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant Radio Maintenance Officer in the RAOC and later transferred to the REME when the latter was formed. He then worked on anti-aircraft radar in searchlight Batteries in the West Country until November 1943, when he was posted to the War Office as a Technical Intelligence Officer, where he remained until the end of the War. He was then posted to the BAOR head-quarters staff in Germany and was demobilised, with the rank of Captain, in June 1946, and then returned to the Patent Office.
For further details about Mr. Burnett's career, please see the correspondence file about this deposit A.5/4(D359).