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William Sage Rapson (14 August 1912-1999) was a New Zealand and South African chemist.

Rapson studied at Auckland University College as a Junior University Scholar, Senior University Scholar, Duffus Lubecki Scholar and lastly Sir George Grey Scholar. In 1933 he became lecturer in chemistry at the University College. The following year he went to study organic chemistry in Oxford with Professor (later Sir) Robert Robinson. He developed the Rapson-Robinson synthesis (steroids), while completing his thesis in 1935 at the age of 23. He was then appointed lecturer in organic chemistry at the University of Cape Town (1935 – 41).

In 1946 he became Professor designate of Chemistry after having been a Senior Lecturer. He was the first director of the National Chemical Research Laboratory of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria. In 1958 he was promoted to Vice-President of CSIR. He was then appointed Research Advisor to the Transvaal and Orange Free State Chamber of Mines, later the Chamber of Mines of South Africa. In 1978 WS Rapson wrote the book ‘Gold Usage’ in collaboration with Dr Theo Groenewald.

Rapson, W. S.; Robinson, R.; J. Chem. Soc. 1935, 1285.

Gold Usage W.S. Rapson and T. Groenewald Academic Press, 1978, ISBN 0-12-581250-7.

Raub, C J (1999) "Appreciation: WS Rapson" Gold Bulletin 32(4).

Austin, Brian: 2001 "Schonland - Scientist and Soldier", IOPP, Bristol, ISBN 0-7503-0501-0

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