Sir Ronald Sydney Nyholm
Sir Ronald Sydney Nyholm (1917-1971), professor of chemistry, was born on 29 January 1917 at Broken Hill, New South Wales, fourth of six children of Adelaide-born parents Eric Edward Nyholm (d.1932), railway shunter, and his wife Gertrude Mary, née Woods. His paternal grandfather Erik Nyholm, a coppersmith, had emigrated from Finland in 1873. Ron attended Broken Hill High School on a bursary. Dux in 1933, he won a Teachers’ College scholarship to the University of Sydney (B.Sc., 1938; M.Sc., 1942). In his third year he was influenced by the lectures on coordination (metal complex) chemistry given by George Burrows, who was to supervise his fourth year. Nyholm investigated iron complexes of arsines and graduated with first-class honours. Thus began his lifelong activity with arsines as ligands (compounds which bind chemically to metal ions).