AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Longuet-Higgins, Christopher (1923-2004)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0117 CLH
Held at: Royal Society
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Longuet-Higgins, Christopher (1923-2004)
Date(s): 1943-2004
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 20 series
Name of creator(s): Higgins | Hugh Christopher | Longuet- | 1923-2004 | theoretical chemist and cognitive scientist x Higgins | Christopher | Longuet- x Longuet-Higgins | Christopher
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

At school, Christopher, like his brother Michael, proved an accomplished mathematician but after winning a scholarship to Oxford decided to turn his efforts to chemistry. Graduating in 1945 with a first-class honours degree, he went on to hold various prestigious positions at the University of Manchester, King's College London, and Chicago University and in 1954 was appointed Humphrey Plummer Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at Cambridge.

Using the tools of quantum and statistical mechanics he made major contributions to the study of the structure and properties of molecules and to molecular spectroscopy. Understanding the benefit of communication between disciplines, Christopher also combined the voices of molecular chemistry and physics to become the founder of the journal Molecular Physics. At home with some of the greatest minds of the day, Christopher could include the Nobel Prize winning Gerhard Herzberg FRS in his list of many correspondents and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1958.

In the late 1960s Christopher's career made another move towards interdisciplinary research when he made the dramatic decision to leave chemistry and enter the field of artificial intelligence. Always taking an active interest in the contribution of scientific analysis to philosophical questions, his research now focused on the study of the mind. Bringing together groups in computer engineering, computer science, linguistics and experimental psychology, Christopher coined the term 'cognitive science' to cover areas as diverse as informatics, neural networks, perception and language generation and co-founded the first school of Epistemics at the University of Edinburgh.

Having always had an aptitude for music - Christopher was both a talented performer and composer- in his later years he also gave fresh insight into the theory of music. Among his work, some of which remained unpublished at his death, include computer programs for parsing Bach and research into the algorithmic analysis of harmony, rhythm and metre. With his eye for big questions, the collection also shows Christopher's interest in the effects of modern transport on climate change as well as correspondence with Francis Crick FRS concerning consciousness, indicating that he was indeed a true all-round scientist and polymath.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Hugh Christopher Longuet-Higgins FRS (1923-2004), always known as Christopher, include correspondence, lecture notes and papers giving testimony to a long and varied career of over 50 years.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to Archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Copied from the Royal Society catalogue by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Feb 2009.

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Personal Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"