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Alumnus Peter Norman, 4th from the left in the second row Chemistry Part II 1977, and Peter Norman today (below left).


Greetings from Burnham, Buckinghamshire.

I was a research chemist for Bayer at nearby Stoke Poges for 20 years. We were located in the beautiful country house once owned by the Penn family (later of Pennsylvania), near where Gray wrote Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. After Bayer I became a consultant to the Pharmaceutical industry.

I return to Cambridge for the biennial RSC/SCI Medicinal Chemistry meeting at Churchill. I usually see old friends, and last time I met Richard Mackman, who is now Vice President of Gilead in San Francisco [see article about Richard in the November 2020 Chem@Cam].

I recently found a photo of the Part II class of 1977. I am the 4th from the left in the second row but I can’t remember many of the others now. All the Part II exams that year were held in the No 1 lecture theatre. The final paper was taken after the double bank holiday for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, and we all repaired to the Panton Arms afterwards to celebrate.

I like to cook, which always seems to go hand in hand with organic chemistry.

Brian Thrush gave me supervisions for three years. He was in charge of the wine at Emmanuel, which became another of my passions. I was also taught by Tony (Anthony) Stone, and Ted McDonald from Prof Battersby’s group. And I remember a very young Jeremy Sanders.

Professor Brian Thrush

Cambridge has changed a lot since I was there – housing in Cambridge used to be cheap!

Lockdown has not affected my work much, but my wife and I have had two trips to the Canary Islands cancelled -- and we have half a turkey in our freezer because, like many other people, lockdown disrupted our Christmas plans with our family.

One of my memories of Chemistry is the mass transit of bicycles along Tennis Court Road after a 10am lecture as everybody headed from Lensfield Road to the New Museums site. I hope after lockdown this will happen again!

Peter Norman (Emmanuel 1974)