Geoff Rayner-Canham, B.Sc., D.I.C., Ph.D.



Inorganic Chemistry

Inorganic chemistry was Dr. Rayner-Canham’s original field of interest, and he was the author of 20 research papers in inorganic, organometallic, and bioinorganic chemistry. He was the recipient of a National Research Council of Canada grant (1975-98) for studies in trace metals in marine organisms in the amount of $14,549 and resulted in two publications. Since then, his interests have re-focussed on the teaching of inorganic chemistry, particularly an appropriate text for sophomore inorganic chemistry, and on patterns in the Periodic Table. He also pursued research relevant to the extraction of oil from shale during his sabbatical at the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado (1981-82).

Relevant Publications
G.W. Rayner-Canham, M. van Roode and J. Burke, “Nickel and Cobalt Concentrations in the Tunicate Halocynthia Pyriformis: Evidence for Essentiality of the Two Metals,” Inorganica Chimica Acta, 106, L37-L38 (1985).
G.W. Rayner-Canham and D.W. Dickerhoof, “An Elucidation of the Iron(III) chloride-clay System for the Removal of Nitrogen-containing Compounds from Petroleum and Shale-oil Distillates,” Fuel, 63, 1472-1474 (1984).
G.W. Rayner-Canham, “Some Niobium(V) Complexes and their Relevance to the Uptake of Niobium by Ascidians,” Polyhedron, 3, 1029-1031 (1984).

Dr. Rayner-Canham contends that inorganic chemistry is not just molecular orbitals and other theoretical concepts but the nature of inorganic compounds and their understanding primarily through thermodynamics and sometimes by means of Frost and Pourbaix diagrams. Students need to be aware of the properties and uses of compounds. His book was first published in 1995 and subsequently appeared in Korean translation. The second edition was published in 1999 and subsequently appeared in a Korean and Spanish translation.

With the third edition, a new chapter on periodic properties was added. Tina Overton of the University of Hull, England, joined him as co-author and, in particular, contributed a chapter on organometallic chemistry, matching the content and style of the other chapters. This best-selling text is now in its fifth edition. Over 100 video clips showing reactions discussed in the text are available on-line. In the text, a video camera symbol indicates when a corresponding video clip is available.

Relevant Publications
G.W. Rayner-Canham and T.L. Overton, Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry: 5th Edition, W.H. Freeman Publishing Co., 2010.
G.W. Rayner-Canham and T.L. Overton, Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry: 4th Edition, W.H. Freeman Publishing Co., 2006.
G.W. Rayner-Canham and T.L. Overton, Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry: 3rd Edition, W.H. Freeman Publishing Co., 2003.
G.W. Rayner-Canham, Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry: 2nd Edition, W.H. Freeman Publishing Co., 1999
G.W. Rayner-Canham, Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry, W.H. Freeman Publishing Co., 1995.

Though the Periodic Table in various forms has been in use for over 100 years, there has recently been a resurgence in interest in previously unrecognized and overlooked patterns and trends. Dr. Rayner-Canham has had a review published on the different patterns and trends. He was one of only two Canadians who were invited speakers at the International Conference on the Periodic Table, Kananaskis, AB, 14-20 July 2003. His contribution, “The Richness of Periodic Patterns” was included in the Conference Proceedings, The Periodic Table: into the 21st Century. He has also devised a Periodic Table which highlights some of these patterns such as diagonal, knight’s-move, (n and n+10), and pseudo-element relationships. More recently he has extended the work of Michael Laing on the ‘Knight’s Move’ relationship and on matrices involving isoelectronic species.

Relevant Publications
G. Rayner-Canham, “Relationships among the Transition Metals,” Foundations of Chemistry, 13, 223-232 (2011).
G. Rayner-Canham, “Diagonality in the Periodic Table,” Foundations of Chemistry, 13, 121-129 (2011).
G. Rayner-Canham, “Isoelectronic Series: A Fundamental Periodic Property,” Foundations of Chemistry, 11, 123-129 (2009).
G. Rayner-Canham and M. Oldford, “The Chemical ‘Knight’s Move’ Relationship: What is its Significance?” Foundations of Chemistry, 9, 119-125 (2007).
G.W. Rayner-Canham, “Periodic Patterns,” Journal of Chemical Education, 77, 1053 (2000).

Dr. Rayner-Canham has also combined his interests in the Periodic Table and the history of science to undertake small research projects on the discovery of individual elements. He has also had a long-term fascination with the shell model of the nucleus.

Relevant Element Publications
G. W. Rayner-Canham and Z. Zheng, “Naming Elements after Scientists: An Account of a Controversy,” Foundations of Chemistry, 10, 13-18 (2008).
G.W. Rayner-Canham and G. Pike, “The Search for the Elusive Element 43,” Education in Chemistry, 30, 12-14 (1993).
G.W. Rayner-Canham, “The Curious Case of Canadium,” Canadian Chemical Education, 9, 10-11 (1973).

Relevant Publications related to the Shell Model of the Nucleus
G.W. Rayner-Canham, “Hassium-270: Another Triumph for the Shell Model of the Nucleus,” Chem13 News, 16-17 (September 2007).
G.W. Rayner-Canham, “Nickel-48: Double Magic,” Education in Chemistry, 38, 46-48 (2001).
G. Rayner-Canham and M. Rayner-Canham, “The Shell Model of the Nucleus,” Science Teacher, 54(1), 18-20 (1987).

Division of Science, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College
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 Last updated on: 12/05/2011