Alwyn Davies made important contributions to several interconnected fields of organic and organometallic chemistry. His pioneering studies on the synthesis and mechanisms of reaction of organic peroxides greatly increased knowledge of this important class of compounds. He also prepared the first organometallic peroxides of most of the main group elements, and established their reaction patterns. He discovered the reactions involving bimolecular homolytic substitutions at a metal centre, developed the electron paramagnetic resonance (ESR) techniques for identification of the radicals generated, and applied these techniques very fruitfully in extensive studies of neutral free radicals.
Alwyn's later studies of electron transfer chemistry yielded many new types of radical anions and cations, and led to the first identification by ESR spectroscopy of the radical cations of many simple organic pi systems in fluid solution. He also made many important contributions in several branches of main group organometallic chemistry. Especially noteworthy are his observations on reactions of organotin alkoxides with unsaturated organic compounds, which have enabled understanding of several important industrial processes.
Professor Alwyn Davies FRS died on 1 September 2023.