Stephen Mason’s professional career comprised three distinct periods. After completing his DPhil on the physicochemical properties of antimalarial drugs in 1947 he first worked in the history of science and wrote a notable book on that subject, A history of the sciences: main currents of scientific thought. In 1953 his interest turned again to ‘modern’ chemical research, and until his retirement in 1988 he was active at the forefront of the application of the spectroscopic and theoretical techniques developed during the middle third of the twentieth century to the elucidation of the structures of organic and inorganic molecules. In the last, post-retirement, phase he returned to the history of science. This pattern reflected his extremely wide interest in and comprehensive knowledge of science, especially chemistry, which was manifest in his approach to university teaching and to all the research problems with which he engaged.
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