Professor William Harrison

Professor William Harrison
Professor William Harrison

Professor William Harrison

MA (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon), FHEA

Personal Chair



Bill Harrison grew up in southern England and was the first in his family to enter higher education.  He graduated with first-class honours in Chemistry from University College, Oxford in 1982.  He stayed in Oxford to study for his DPhil (PhD) under the supervision of Prof Tony Cheetham, FRS, studying the magnetic behaviour of transition-metal oxides. He then worked as assistant instrument scientist on the high resolution powder diffractometer (HRPD) at the ISIS spallation neutron source and a highlight of that time was the determination of the crystal structure of the high-temperature superconductor YBa2Cu3O7–δ, which featured on the cover of Nature.   Following that, in 1988 he headed for sunnier climes for a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied advanced materials by state-of-the-art diffraction techniques. A second postdoc followed at the University of Houston (Texas), where a highlight was the study of layered hybrid perovskites as potential solar cell materials (Nature cover).  His first ‘real’ academic position in 1995 was a lecturer at the University of Western Australia, where he discovered his previously unsuspected enthusiasm for teaching.  He was appointed as lecturer in chemistry at the University of Aberdeen in 1998, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2000 and to Personal Chair in 2018. He currently serves as Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of Natural and Computing Science.  He teaches at all levels of the Chemistry programme and his University awards for teaching include ‘most accessible lecturer’ (2015), ‘best lecturer’ (2017) and ‘most supportive lecturer’ (2020).   His independent research in synthetic and structural chemistry focuses on undergraduate research projects.  His interests outside the University include photography, local politics and family activities.

Internal Memberships

School Director of Teaching and Learning, personal tutor.  Member of Quality Assurance Committee, Undergraduate Committee, retention task group, positive outcomes task group, student survey working group...  


Research Overview

Synthetic and structural inorganic chemistry: 614 publications, 10597 citations, Hirsch h-index 49 (data retrieved from Web of Science, 18 March 2021).



Teaching Responsibilities

Bill Harrison is Course Coordinator for Level 1 Chemistry and teaches on the following courses: 

  • CM1020 Chemistry for the Life Sciences 1
  • CM1021 Chemistry for the Physical Sciences 1
  • CM1022 Elements of Chemistry 1
  • CM1512 Chemistry for the Life Sciences 2   
  • CM1513 Chemistry for the Physical Sciences 2
  • CM1522 Elements of Chemistry 2   
  • CM2519 Inorganic Chemistry
  • CM3037 Inorganic and Solid-State Chemistry 
  • CM4037 Advanced Inorganic and Physical Chemistry
  • CM4028/CM4036/CM4535 project supervsion
  • CM5003 MChem Chemistry Applications

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