William Palmer Wynne

  • 1861-1950
  • B.Sc. Royal College of Science
  • 1886 Started work with Armstrong

William Palmer Wynne was born in 1861 in Stafford. He went to King Edward School in Birmingham. A determined chemist he had to practice chemistry at his own home due to the lack of a laboratory at his school! Working as an apprentice by day for pharmaceutical companies he studied by night. His determination and perseverance led him to get a scholarship at the Royal College of Science working uder Professor Frankland. He obtained a 1st class B.Sc. degree.

In 1886 he joined Professor Armstrong in the goal of separating sulphonic acid isomers. This would lead to the determination of the orientation of napthalene derivatives. With hindsight, this is actually a form of determination of aromaticity and the activation and de-activation of rings!

The Armstrong-Wynne partnership went on for 11 years but no publications ever came of it. Wynne, although a pioneer in the napthalene chemistry is largely unknown. He wrote for Thorpe's dictionary, explaining how the research in napthalene could help the dye industry.