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Stuttgart, February 2021 – Chemist Victor Snieckus passed away on December 18, 2020 at the age of 83. With him, Thieme Chemistry loses a pioneering scientist and visionary in his field. Among other achievements, Snieckus was co-founder and editorial board member of the journals SYNLETT and SYNFACTS – playing a major role in shaping these journals through his personal commitment. He was also a volume editor for the Science of Synthesis series covering two volumes on lithium chemistry. As a member of the jury for the Thieme–IUPAC Prize, he was committed to young researchers in the field of synthetic chemistry.

Victor A. Snieckus was born in 1937 in Kaunas, Lithuania. After World War II, he studied chemistry at the University of Alberta/Canada, and the University of California, Berkeley/USA, finally receiving his PhD from the University of Oregon in Eugene/USA in 1965. After a postdoctoral period at the National Research Council in Ottawa, he joined the University of Waterloo/Canada as an assistant professor in 1967.

There, he eventually held the NSERC-Monsanto Industrial Research Chair in Chemical Synthesis and Biomolecular Design from 1992 to 1998. In 1998, he moved to the Department of Chemistry at Queen's University, Kingston/Canada where he held the Bader Chair in Organic Chemistry, one of the most prominent positions in organic chemistry in Canada, until 2009. After retiring from teaching in 2009, he remained active in research at the university.

Professor Snieckus and his team were most influential pioneers in organolithium and heterocyclic chemistry. Having developed DOM reactions (ortho metalation) as an innovative process in organic synthesis, he successively improved the method in the course of his scientific activities. Always keen to transform his research results into practical applications, his exchange with industry was active and close. In this context, he made significant contributions to the development of important anti-inflammatory drugs, among other achievements. Victor Snieckus will be remembered as a dedicated teacher and mentor to the many students he accompanied over the years.

His outstanding leadership has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Alfred Bader Award (1993), the Humboldt Research Award (1996), the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (2001), and the Global Lithuanian Award (2013), among others.

The collaboration between Victor Snieckus and Thieme began in 1990. As an editorial board member with innovative ideas, he was instrumental in developing SYNLETT, an English-language journal for organic synthetic chemistry launched in 1989, and SYNFACTS, a journal highlighting current research results in chemical synthesis, founded in 2005. In 2017, he stepped down from the SYNLETT Editorial Board to become a member of the Advisory Board. He shaped SYNFACTS as an editorial board member and author for articles in the category "Synthesis of Heterocycles" until the end of 2020. Besides this, Snieckus also offered his expertise and network to support the editorial team of Science of Synthesis (SOS), Thieme's digital reference work for preparative methods in organic synthetic chemistry. He was responsible as a volume editor for the SOS series for the original volumes on lithium chemistry. As a member of the jury for the Thieme–IUPAC Prize, he always had the achievements of young researchers in mind. The prize is awarded every two years to an outstanding researcher under the age of 40 on the occasion of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry – International Conference on Organic Synthesis (IUPAC-ICOS). Victor Snieckus also co-founded the Balticum Organicum Syntheticum (BOS) conference series, which Thieme has substantially supported since its inception. It was his special contribution to stimulate the exchange and networking of scientists from his Baltic home region with the international scientific community.

With Snieckus, the chemistry world loses an internationally recognized scientist and an outstanding human being. “Thanks to his wide-ranging activities and extraordinary commitment, Victor Snieckus is one of the editors at Thieme I personally had a particularly close working relationship with over the past 20 years,” said Dr. Susanne Haak, Senior Director Thieme Chemistry Journals. “He was an outgoing, kind and very sociable man. Our entire team enjoyed intense discussions and countless fun encounters that will be remembered forever.” Snieckus was a great teacher and mentor to students worldwide and an important advisor to colleagues in both academia and industry. “He brought people together and met everyone with the same interest and respect, listening to them and discussing with them – no matter whether they were Nobel laureates, students, chemists or non-scientists. We’re really going to miss his expertise, his commitment and the exchange with him. With Victor, we lose a valuable member of the Thieme family and a truly wonderful person.”

We offer our sympathy to his relatives – especially his two children.

In 2017, SYNLETT published a comprehensive tribute to Victor Snieckus on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, organized by editorial board members P. Andrew Evans and Tomislav Rovis, in collaboration with James R. Green.
Click here for the editorial

Click here for the complete issue

About Thieme
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Press contact: Carola Schindler
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