Nick Westwood and thoughts on “Deus ex Machina”

 

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Nick Westwood great friend and New Musical Express

NPCW   June 13 1946 – July 28 2015

Nick and I did a lot of photoelectron spectroscopy research together and one of the trickiest experiments involved obtaining the PE spectrum of CH3CP but green fingered Nick Westwood managed it  CH3CP PE dt9790001405

Capture CH3CP PE c d only

Our mutual friend Rich Oakley writes (31 July 2015):

Nick and I used to banter together in a language that can best be described as “English School Boy”. People would join us, and simply not understand what we were saying.

One of his favorite expressions was “cum grano salis”.  We would be reading a questionable paper, and he would look at me, smile and say “well Rich, I think we should take all this … cum grano salis!

If you read the bottom of this paper (with Michael Palmer)

http://www.chembio.uoguelph.ca/oakley/papers/rto_094.pdf

you will find another favorite of Nick’s … when people waffled, he would say they were looking for a “Deus ex Machina”.

HK writes

He was one of those rare people who could light up the whole room when he entered
I can hear his voice now and those of us who knew him are specially fortunate

My favourite which we both used all the time was:  “Let’s present him with a Fat Accomplice” but this may have been David Frost (at UBC in 1974) discussing presenting McDowell with a proposition! which may have initiated Nick’s inventiveness at one liners.

I (HK) think I shall write an article entitled Deus ex Machina (using Nick’s one liner) which sums up the terrible situation today in which poor scientists think they have discovered something on the basis of poor theory. Examples are pentagraphene and carbyne…and they even get the crap published!

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/8/2372.abstract

http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/materials/carbynes-list-of-amazing-properties-grows

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2010/November/CarbyneOtherMythsAboutCarbon.asp

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