25: Inorganic and Mineral Structures Reconsidered (1986)


  • Bruce Godfrey Hyde Research School of Chemistry, The Australian National University


Liversidge Research Lecture delivered before the Royal Society of New South Wales, September 24th, 1986, at The University of Sydney. Reproduced by permission of the Royal Society of New South Wales from J. Proc. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., 1986, 119, 153-164.

"For 60 years or so the "Ionic Model" has been fundamental to solid state chemistry and mineralogy. It has been useful, but the ideas involved have become sacrosanct, even when they do not work! Quantum mechanical methods are becoming increasingly important and useful, but they lack the simple "physical" approach and, in any case, so far can only be applied to the simpler structures."

"An alternative approach, as simple, naive and "physical" as the ionic model, is successful where the latter succeeds and where it fails (e.g. in silicates). It can often be useful for simple and complicated structures; and it avoids the ionic/covalent dichotomy. Like the successful quantum methods, it sees no difference in principle between non-molecular structures and those of small molecules (another unhappy dichotomy). It emphasises that, as in organic chemistry, one "size" for an atom is insufficient for understanding structure; at the crudest level one needs a bonding size (for first nearest neighbour interactions) and a non-bonding size (for second and further neighbours)."

"It transpires that cations, far from being small in size and influence, often dominate crystal structure and behaviour."

Author Biography

Bruce Godfrey Hyde, Research School of Chemistry, The Australian National University


In 1986, Bruce Godfrey Hyde was Chair of Inorganic Chemistry at ANU. Born in South Wales, his early tertiary education was at Bristol University before taking up a Postdoctoral position at the University of Melbourne in 1957. He also worked at the University of Iowa, Arizona State University, and was Personal Chair at the University of Western Australian in 1975. He retired in 1990 Emeritus Professor. In 1992, a special issue of the Australian Journal of Chemistry was dedicated to Hyde. He sadly died in 2014, after this transcript was compiled.


For additional biographical information, photographic permissions, references and a list of honours, awards and publications, please see pages 2–4 of the transcript.


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Portrait of Bruce Godfrey Hyde