Francis Patrick Dwyer - Professional Life

Professional Life

Following his university studies Dwyer was appointed to the Inorganic Chemistry Department of the Sydney Technical College, where he held the post of Head Lecturer until 1946. In that year he was awarded the Doctor of Science from the University of Sydney for his thesis entitled: 'The Diazoamino Compounds; their Metallic Salts and Metallic Hydroxide Lakes'. The University's regulations for this degree were so stringent that Dwyer's award was the first D Sc in Chemistry awarded for nearly 20 years.

In 1946 Dwyer accepted a Senior Lectureship in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Sydney, a position he held until 1957. Here he continued research on metal coordination compounds and began his important work on optical activity of metal complexes. This interest led him into biological chemistry.

In 1956 he was appointed to a new Chair of Inorganic Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University, USA. However a number of Australia's senior scientists, realising the loss to Australia of a scientist of Dwyer's calibre, succeeded in establishing for him a Visiting Reader in charge of a Unit of Biological Inorganic Chemistry in the John Curtin School of Medical Research in Canberra. This was done in conjunction with Australian National University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Dwyer took up this position in 1959.

In 1960 he was given a Personal Professorship and in 1961 he was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. In Canberra he began investigating the effect of metal complexes on biological activity, and was a pioneer in this field. In all he published 160 research papers; he commenced the book Chelating Agents and Metal Chelates, which was published after his death.

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