25 October 1999

Award of the "Georg Wittig Lectureship – BASF Guest Professorship for Chemistry at the University of Heidelberg" on 27 October

Ceremonial colloquium at the auditorium building of the Faculty of Chemistry: official award to the 1999 recipient, Professor Ryoji Noyori from Japan – Special lectures by Prof. R.W. Hoffmann (Marburg) and the recipient – Further lecture by Noyori on 28 October

At a ceremonial symposium in Heidelberg on Wednesday, 27 October 1999, the "Georg Wittig Lectureship" will be officially awarded to Professor Ryoji Noyori of the University of Nogoya (Japan) by the BASF company and the University of Heidelberg. The public event will take place in the auditorium building of the Faculty of Chemistry on Neuenheimer Feld campus (building No. 252) at 3 p.m. After words of welcome from the Rector and the Dean of the Chemistry Faculty Professor Dr. R.W. Hoffmann (Marburg) will be addressing the assembly on the subject of "Georg Wittig and His Work" and indicating the continuing significance Wittig's research still has for present-day chemistry. Georg Wittig was Professor Hoffmann's supervisor when he was working for his Habilitation.

Subsequently the Lectureship will be officially awarded to Ryoji Nojori. It comes with an endowment of 25,000 marks. The presentation of the award will be made jointly by Professor Peter Hofmann, the holder of the chair of Organic Chemistry at the University, and Dr. Stefan Marcinowksi, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF with special responsibiity for research. There then follows a lecture by the recipient on "Asymmetric Catalysis: Science and Opprtunities". At the subsequent break for refreshments visitors will have an opportunity of discussion with members of staff of all the chemistry institutes, who will be presenting digests of their ongoing research work in poster form. There will be another opportunity to hear Professor Noyori on Thursday, 28 October at 2.15 p.m., talking this time about "Asymmetric Hydrogenation".

The "Georg Wittig Lectureship – BASF Guest Professorship for Chemistry at the University of Heidelberg" was initiated at the suggestion of Professor Dr. Peter Hofmann, one of Wittig's successors to the chair of organic chemistry. It is accommodated at the University's Institute of Organic Chemistry and awarded as a token of recognition for scientific work of outstanding distinction. It is financed by the BASF as part of the company's commitment to promoting excellence in research and teaching at the higher education level. Recipients are selected jointly by the Directorate of the Instituite of Organic Chemistry and the BASF Executive Director with special responsibility for research.

Successful cooperation between Georg Wittig and BASF

From 1956 to 1967 Georg Wittig (1897-1987) was professor of organic chemistry at Heidelberg University. In 1979 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry jointly with H.C. Brown of Purdue University. Wittig's major research field was organic and organometallic chemistry. He attained fame with the discovery of the so-called YLIDES, a class of chemical compounds mediating a type of reaction that later became known as "Wittig reactions". In this area Wittig cooperated very successfully with BASF. The Wittig reactions have proved to be of major value in the synthesis of organic compounds.

This year's Lectureship recipient, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ryoji Noyori is a professor at the Department of Chemistry of the Greaduate School of Science at the University of Nagoya (Japan), some 150 miles west of Tokyo. Born in 1938, Noyori studied chemistry in Kyoto, receiving his doctorate there in 1967. He became associate professor at Nagoya, followed by a research post with Nobel chemistry laureate Professor Elias J. Carey at Harvard in 1969-70. In 1972 he was appointed professor at the University of Nagoya. Professor Noyori is working on new synthesis methods in organic chemistry, with special emphasis on assymetric catalysis. He has already received a number of prestigious distinctions and prizes for his pioneering research work.

For more detailed information on the Lectureship itself, the career and major research concerns of this year's recipient and the programme of the colloquium see http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/institute/fak12/DC/news.html.

Please address any inquiries to:
Prof. Dr. Peter Hofmann, Dr. Claudia Meier
University of Heidelberg
Institute of Organic Chemistry
phone: 06221/548502 or 548477

Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310 fax: 542317

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