Professor William Harrison

Professor William Harrison
MA (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon), FHEA

Personal Chair

Professor William Harrison
Professor William Harrison

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272897
The University of Aberdeen Meston Building, Room G30


Bill Harrison 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, investigating the magnetic behaviour of transition-metal oxides by neutron diffraction and other techniques. He then worked as an assistant instrument scientist on the high resolution powder diffractometer (HRPD) at the ISIS spallation neutron source and a highlight of the work performed there was the elucidation 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 non-linear optical materials, zeolites and others by state-of-the-art diffraction techniques. A second postdoc followed at the University of Houston (Texas), where a highlight was contributing to the elucidation of the structures 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 serves as director of teaching and learning in the School of Natural and Computing Science and sits on several important university committees.  He teaches at all levels of the Chemistry programme and his prizes for teaching include ‘best lecturer in the College of Science and Engineering (2010), ‘most accessible lecturer’ (2015), ‘best lecturer’ (2017) and ‘most supportive lecturer’ (2020).  He continues his independent research in synthetic and structural inorganic chemistry with a focus on undergraduate projects.  His interests outside the University include photography, local politics and family activities.


Research Interests

Synthetic and structural inorganic chemistry: 611 publications, 10177 citations, Hirsch h-index 48 (data retrieved from Web of Science, 21 May 2020).



Teaching Responsibilities

Bill Harrison is Module Co-ordinator for CM2519 (Inorganic chemistry) and 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
Further Info

Admin Responsibilities

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...