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Professor Christopher Peter Morley, BA, DPhil (1957-2018)

25 October 2018

Professor Christopher Morley

It is with great sadness that we learned of the recent death of Professor Chris Morley.

Chris joined the School of Chemistry, Cardiff University, in 2006 as the Director of Undergraduate Studies. He passed away at his home in West Wales on Friday 17 August 2018 after a short but brave battle with illness.

Chris started his chemistry career in 1976 at The Queen’s College, Oxford, obtaining a BA (Hons) Chemistry Class I in 1980, and later a DPhil in 1983 under the supervision of Dr JC Green on Topics in Organometallic Chemistry. Having spent almost 7 years in Oxford, he then obtained a Royal Society Fellowship to study at the Universität Bielefeld (Germany) with Professor P Jutzi from 1983-1984. He remained in Germany for another two years as Stipendiat der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft at Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, in Mülheim an der Ruhr with Professor G Wilke.

Following this period in Germany, Chris then took up his first permanent academic role as a lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry at the Queen’s University of Belfast from 1986 to 1989, before moving to Swansea University in 1989 at a Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry. During his time in Swansea, he held many roles within the Chemistry Department, including Sub-Dean of the Faculty of Science.

In 2006 Chris moved to Cardiff University, holding several academic roles within the School and across the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, including Deputy Head of School, Chair of the Board of Studies, Director of Learning and Teaching, and membership of the Academic Standards Committee.

Chris’ research interests focussed on organometallic and coordination chemistry. He was keenly interested in the properties of transition metal complexes bearing selenium-containing ligands. These compounds remain attractive synthetic targets for a range of applications, including novel electrochemical and optical devices. He was also interested in cyclopentadienyl derivatives of main group elements and cyclopentadienylselenium compounds. Ever the curious chemist, he became interested in the chemical basis of water repellency in soils, developing reliable and general methods for the extraction, separation and characterisation of compounds responsible for soil water repellency.

His teaching interests were primarily based in the field of inorganic chemistry, and over the years he delivered lectures on virtually all aspects of this subject. Chris cared deeply about his teaching and was dedicated to his students. They always came first and he knew every chemistry student in the School by name.

Outside of work, he loved travelling, cricket and rugby, and was an excellent pianist. He also cherished the long walks with his wife Chris and their dog.

All of us who worked with Chris will remember a colleague of great honesty and kindness. On behalf of all Chris’ work colleagues, past and present, we offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to his wife and daughter, Chris and Anna, on this tragic and untimely loss.

Professor Damien Murphy
Head of School
School of Chemistry
Cardiff University