here - UK NMR Discussion Group

Celebrating 50 years of the NMRDG
The UK Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Discussion Group (NMRDG) celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014. It was
formed in 1964 to provide a forum for chemists from academia and industry who were interested in NMR
spectroscopy then emerging as a chemical structural tool. The NMRDG began as an independent group but later
became affiliated as a Subject Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry. In the USA, the Experimental NMR
Conference (ENC), the nearest thing to an NMR society there, had been initiated in 1959. The formation of the new
UK NMRDG was initiated by Eric Mooney and was formally proposed by him at a meeting that he organised and held
at the Northern Polytechnic in London (now London Metropolitan University) in the summer of 1963. The aim was to
interest London-based scientists in NMR spectroscopy and Eric said that he had no idea how many would attend; in
fact around 125 turned up.
At the outset, Eric Mooney (who left the NMR field in 1970, but who came to a recent NMRDG meeting) was the
secretary of the group and Ernie Cummings of Perkin-Elmer, the treasurer. The new group held its first scientific
meeting at the Northern Polytechnic in London on 22 May 1964 at which Norman Sheppard was elected as NMRDG
Chairman. Two other meetings were held later in 1964, at the National Physical Laboratory Teddingon, London, and
the School of Pharmacy, University of London. Later Rex Richards became the second NMRDG Chairman, with John
Elvidge taking over in 1966. 50 years on, the group remains an active and excellent forum for all UK matters related
to NMR and increasingly has international speakers at its meetings.
Another notable anniversary occurs in 2015 when it will be 50 years since the publication of the two-volume
textbook on NMR spectroscopy by Les Sutcliffe, Jim Emsley and Jim Feeney who were all then at Liverpool
University. This milestone will be celebrated at the Christmas NMRDG meeting in 2015 with all of the authors
speaking. Also, the meeting will recall 50 years of “Progress in NMR Spectroscopy”. Les Sutcliffe said recently “Pergamon Press did nothing for a whole year after we had given them the manuscript of the book, so Jim Feeney
and I had to spend a week at their offices revising the manuscript to include something on the advent of
superconducting magnets and pulse techniques. We realised that, with the rapid development of NMR, we couldn’t
do this again for any future editions so the idea of Progress was born and this why it was started before the book
actually came out. The series was commissioned in 1965 and the first volume appeared in 1966”.
John Lindon
January 2015