News & Events

50 Years of Xenon Chemistry

March 23, 2012 marks the 50th Anniversary of Neil Bartlett’s groundbreaking discovery of the first noble gas compound. Prior to Bartlett's discovery, all chemistry textbooks were written with the fixed idea that the Group VIII elements He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe, and Rn, the Rare Gases, were chemically inert. In fact, they were often referred to as the Inert Gases. Working alone one night in the Chemistry Department, Bartlett demonstrated the first reaction of a noble gas by combining xenon with platinum hexafluoride. This incredible breakthrough completely changed the way we think about the noble gases and opened the doors to a new field of chemistry.

In honour of this momentous occasion, the Department is hosting the 2012 Bartlett Symposium on Friday March 23. The event features a Reception and four outstanding Guest Speakers:

  • Dr. Derek Lohmann, member of the Bartlett group prior to the discovery.
  • Dr. Jack Passmore, Bartlett PhD student from 1965 to 67 at UBC. Continued on with a distinguished career in Fluorine Chemistry at the University of New Brunswick.
  • Dr. Herbert Roesky, speaking on the impact of Bartlett’s discovery on science and education.
  • Dr. Gary Schrobilgen, recognized worldwide for his work in noble gas chemistry.

Time:               Speakers from 4:30-6:30pm, followed by a Reception until 9:00pm.

Location:         Chemistry Building - Room B250

For more information and to RSVP, please visit