Australian Dictionary of Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Richard Charles Leslie Bosworth (1907–1964)

by R. Bhathal

This article was published:

Richard Charles Leslie Bosworth (1907-1964), chemist and academic, was born on 17 January 1907 at Westbourne Park, Adelaide, son of Richard Leslie Eugene Bosworth, surveyor, and his wife Isabella Bissett, née Watson. Educated at Scotch College where he was twice dux, in 1925 Richard enrolled at the University of Adelaide (B.Sc., 1928; B.Sc. Hons, 1930; M.Sc., 1931; D.Sc., 1938); in 1930 he was awarded a David Murray research scholarship. On 12 August 1933 he married Thelma Hilda Emma Boon at St Augustine's Anglican Church, Unley; they were to have three children. That year he won an 1851 Exhibition scholarship and entered Trinity College, Cambridge (Ph.D., 1935): he worked under Professor (Sir) Eric Rideal and in 1936 won the senior Rouse Ball studentship and the 1851 Exhibition senior studentship.

Returning to Australia in 1938, Bosworth was appointed research chemist to the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd in Sydney. During World War II he worked on the production of drugs, particularly vitamin C, for the armed forces. In 1948 he became manager of C.S.R.'s research department, a position he held until 1957 when he joined the New South Wales University of Technology (later University of New South Wales) as associate-professor and head of the physical chemistry department.

A world authority on heat transfer and transport processes in applied chemistry, he contributed papers to the second and third volumes of Principles of Sugar Technology (Amsterdam, 1959, 1963), edited by Pieter Honig. Bosworth published seventy-nine papers (eleven jointly) and three books: Physics in Chemical Industry (London, 1950), Heat Transfer Phenomena (Sydney and New York, 1952) and Transport Processes in Applied Chemistry (Sydney and London, 1956). He co-authored, with P. D. Lark and B. R. Craven, The Handling of Chemical Data (London, 1968).

Advocating the importance of basic science in industry, Bosworth argued that more physicists should be employed in the chemical field and urged that greater attention should be given in university courses to 'the consolidation of familiar physical principles with a view to the fitting of students for industrial posts'. In 1961 he was a visiting professor at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and guest lecturer at the New Zealand Chemical Society, Auckland; next year he was awarded a visiting professorship to the University of Illinois, United States of America, but illness prevented his going there.

Bosworth was president of the Royal Society of New South Wales (1951-52), of the State branch of the British Society of Rheology and of the University of New South Wales Chemical Society (1958). He had been awarded the H. G. Smith medal by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute in 1952 and the medal of the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1958. A shy man, whose research was his main interest, he was also a skilled photographer whose cinematographic films have been donated to the National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra. Survived by his wife, son and a daughter, he died of atherosclerotic heart disease on 24 March 1964 in Sydney and was cremated. His estate was sworn for probate at £25,548.

Select Bibliography

  • Royal Australian Chemical Institute, Proceedings, 31, no 4, Apr 1964, p 128
  • Chronicle (Adelaide), 13 July 1933
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Apr 1958, 17 Feb 1959
  • Royal Society of New South Wales Archives, Sydney
  • Bosworth papers (University of New South Wales Library Archives)
  • private information.

Citation details

R. Bhathal, 'Bosworth, Richard Charles Leslie (1907–1964)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 15 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (Melbourne University Press), 1993

View the front pages for Volume 13

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024