W. P. Griffith is Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at Imperial College London. He did his Ph.D. work in 1960 under Professor Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson and returned to Imperial after postdoctoral work with another Nobel Laureate, Henry Taube, at Chicago and Stanford (1960-62). He was a visiting lecturer/professor at the universities of Auckland, Durban and ETH Zurich, and has lectured at most universities in the UK and in countries abroad under Royal Society and British Council auspices.
His 300 research papers are principally in the field of coordination chemistry and oxidation catalysis, many of them concentrating on the six platinum-group elements and particularly on ruthenium and osmium. With Professor Steve Ley FRS (now at Cambridge) he developed the perruthenate catalyst TPAP, now a standard ruthenium oxidation catalyst for organic chemists – it features prominently in his book "Ruthenium Oxidation Complexes". His book "The Chemistry of the Rarer Platinum Metals (Os, Ru, Ir and Rh)" was an early classic and did much to stimulate research into the chemistry of these remarkable elements. He has written or co-authored seven volumes of Gmelin’s "Handbook of Inorganic Chemistry", dealing with the chemistry of ruthenium, osmium, rhodium (3 volumes), iridium (2 volumes) and palladium. He has lectured at a number of international conferences on coordination chemistry, platinum-group metals and homogeneous catalysis, and was awarded the medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry Noble Metals award.