Ray Freeman

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Ray Freeman
Raymond Freeman

(1932-01-06)6 January 1932[1]
Died1 May 2022(2022-05-01) (aged 90)[2]
Alma materLincoln College, Oxford[1]
Spouse(s)Anne-Marie Périnet-Marquet[1]
Scientific career
ThesisSome chemical applications of nuclear magnetic resonance spectra (1958)
Doctoral advisorRex Richards
Doctoral studentsGareth Morris[5]

Geoffrey Bodenhausen[6]

Malcolm Levitt[7]

Raymond Freeman FRS (6 January 1932 – 1 May 2022) was a British chemist and professor at Jesus College, Cambridge who made important contributions to NMR spectroscopy.[8][9][10][11][12][13]


Freeman was educated at Nottingham High School where he won an Open Scholarship to Lincoln College, Oxford in December 1949 and (at the instigation of Lincoln College) deferred his admission to Oxford to complete his military service in the Royal Air Force as a radar instructor, reaching the rank of acting corporal, un-paid.

In October 1951 he returned to Oxford and began his studies in Chemistry under the tutorship of Rex Richards, going on to do research in Rex's group on NMR of the less-common nuclei (in particular 59Co) and earning his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.


Joining the magnetic resonance group of Anatole Abragam at Saclay, France in 1957, Freeman did postdoctoral research under the direction of the NMR pioneer Robert Pound (on leave from Harvard) on the super-regenerative oscillator, and exploited that device to build a stable high-resolution NMR spectrometer.

Varian Associates, California

After three years at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, United Kingdom, in the Basic Physics Division, Freeman took leave of absence in 1961 to work on double irradiation techniques with Wes Anderson at Varian Associates in Palo Alto, California. This environment proved so stimulating that one year was extended to twelve, and the young family grew up as Californians; three children have now settled on the West Coast.

Along with research at Varian on double-resonance, double-quantum effects, spin-lattice relaxation, and Fourier transformation, Freeman assisted in the development of new Varian NMR spectrometers (XL-100 and CFT-20).

Back to Oxford

In 1973 Freeman returned to Oxford as University Lecturer and Fellow of Magdalen College, and started his own research group focused on high-resolution NMR methodology.

He received the degree of Doctor of Science in 1975[citation needed] and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1979.[14]

With his research students at Oxford, several publications on new NMR techniques were produced, including work on two-dimensional NMR. Freeman acknowledged that part of this work was triggered by the seminal suggestion of Jean Jeener at a meeting in Brussels.

A Handbook of Magnetic Resonance

On a short sabbatical at Caltech in Pasadena, Freeman published "A Handbook of Magnetic Resonance" (translated into Japanese and Russian).[15]


In 1987 Freeman moved to the University of Cambridge to take up the Plummer chair of magnetic resonance, and was elected a Fellow of Jesus College. There he continued his research on NMR methodology and wrote a second book, "Spin Choreography".[16]

Freeman took statutory retirement in 1999, but continued his research with a long-time colleague Eriks Kupce, and produced his third book, "NMR in Chemistry and Medicine", published in 2003, and later translated into Russian.

Awards and honours

Freeman was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1979[17], his nomination reads:

Dr Freeman has been particularly concerned with the development of High Resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance since 1956. Over the years he has initiated very many of the techniques of high resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance which are now used routinely all over the world. He was responsible for the exploitation of double and triple resonance techniques for the analysis of high resolution NMR spectra and for the determination of relative signs of spin coupling constants in proton spectra. His two major papers on the theory of double resonance and on the theory of spin tickling form the basis of methods used universally today. He showed how C-13 and other weak resonances could be observed indirectly by double resonance methods and also demonstrated the use of double quantum transitions for the assignment of NMR spectra. He then published a series of elegant papers on spin-spin and spin-lattice relaxation in high resolution spectra, demonstrated some of the earliest uses of Fourier transform spectroscopy, and pioneered the methods of measuring spin-lattice relaxation times of C-13 spectra and their use for structural purposes. Dr Freeman's work is characterised by novelty and ingenuity expressed with economy and style.[3]

Freeman was also awarded the Royal Medal in 2002.

Personal life

In 1958 Freeman married Anne-Marie Périnet-Marquet[1] (originally from Haute Savoie, France). They had five children.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d "FREEMAN, Prof. Raymond". Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press.(subscription required)
  2. ^ "Professor Ray Freeman (1932 -2022)". www.jesus.cam.ac.uk. Jesus College, Cambridge. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b "EC/1979/12: Freeman, Raymond". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 1 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Royal Medal Winners: 2007 - 1990". Retrieved 6 December 2008.
  5. ^ Morris, Gareth Alun (1978). New techniques in fourier transform nuclear magnetic resonance (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford.
  6. ^ "Prof. Geoffrey Bodenhausen". EPFL Lausanne. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  7. ^ Levitt, Malcolm (1978). New techniques in nuclear magnetic resonance (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford.
  8. ^ Ray Freeman publications indexed by Google Scholar
  9. ^ "Cambridge University: Professor Ray Freeman". Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 6 December 2008.
  10. ^ "Raven login".
  11. ^ Morris, G. A.; Freeman, R. (1979). "Enhancement of nuclear magnetic resonance signals by polarization transfer". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 101 (3): 760. doi:10.1021/ja00497a058.
  12. ^ Shaka, A. J.; Barker, P. B.; Freeman, R. (1985). "Computer-optimized decoupling scheme for wideband applications and low-level operation". Journal of Magnetic Resonance. 64 (3): 547. Bibcode:1985JMagR..64..547S. doi:10.1016/0022-2364(85)90122-2.
  13. ^ Bax, A.; Freeman, R. (1981). "Investigation of complex networks of spin-spin coupling by two-dimensional NMR". Journal of Magnetic Resonance. 44 (3): 542. Bibcode:1981JMagR..44..542B. doi:10.1016/0022-2364(81)90287-0.
  14. ^ "Raymond Freeman". royalsociety.org. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  15. ^ Ray Freeman (1987). A Handbook of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Longman. ISBN 0-582-25184-2.
  16. ^ Freeman, Ray (2011). Spin choreography : basic steps in high resolution NMR. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-850481-8. OCLC 750575664.
  17. ^ "Raymond Freeman". royalsociety.org. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
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