H. Christopher Longuet-Higgins


1923 – 2004


Who was H. Christopher Longuet-Higgins?

Hugh Christopher Longuet-Higgins FRS was both a theoretical chemist and a cognitive scientist. He was born on 11 April 1923 in Lenham, Kent, England and died on 27 March 2004.

He was educated at The Pilgrims' School, Winchester, and Winchester College. In 1941, he won a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford. He read chemistry, but also took Part I of a degree in Music. He was a Balliol organ scholar.

As an undergraduate he proposed the correct structure of the chemical compound diborane, which was then unknown because it turned out to be different from structures in contemporary chemical valence theory. This was published with his tutor, R. P. Bell.

He completed a DPhil at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Charles Coulson. This was followed by post-doctoral work at the University of Chicago and the University of Manchester.

In 1952, he was appointed Professor of Theoretical Physics at King's College, London, and in 1954 became John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at Cambridge, and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College.

He became interested in the brain and the new field of artificial intelligence. As a consequence, in 1967, he made a major change in his career by moving to the University of Edinburgh to co-found the Department of Machine intelligence and perception, with Richard Gregory and Donald Michie.

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Apr 11, 1923
  • Atheism
  • Balliol College
  • Winchester College
  • University of Oxford
Mar 27, 2004

on July 23, 2013


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