Cecil Nutt was born in Fishponds, Bristol on 27 December 1921, son of Edgar and Ada Nutt. He attended Dr Morgan’s School in Bridgwater, Somerset and from there proceeded to study chemistry at Bristol University. After graduating in chemistry in 1942 he joined the Armament Research Department of the Ministry of Supply, part of which was located in Bristol University, and carried out research on plastic explosives. At the end of the war in 1946 he was able to complete his PhD under the supervision of Dr W J Dunning and Professor W E Garner in one year using some of the material from his war work. He graduated PhD in 1947. By this time Cecil had married, in 1944, Betty Legg, whom he had met while still an undergraduate. Betty recalls the hazardous nature of some of the experiments carried out at that time. Cecil published two papers on the physical chemistry of concentrated nitric acid and the heat of its reaction with hexamine.
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