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Honorary Doctorate for Chemist Rolf Huisgen

Award Ceremony on February 12, 2010, at Freie Universität Berlin

№ 27/2010 from Feb 03, 2010

The renowned German chemist, Professor Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Rolf Huisgen, professor emeritus at LMU Munich, will be granted an honorary doctorate from Freie Universität Berlin. The Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy is honoring Huisgen for his fundamental work in the field of organic chemistry, now included in textbooks on the subject. The honorary degree will be conferred as part of a special colloquium on February 12. The laudatory speech will be given by Professor Kendall N. Houk (University of California, Los Angeles). The keynote lecture will be held by Professor Johann Mulzer (University of Vienna), a former student of Huisgen, who himself taught at Freie Universität for many years.

Huisgen is one of the most prominent chemists in mechanistic organic chemistry as well as synthetic heterocyclic chemistry of the past 60 years. He developed, among other things, the concept of 1,3 dipolar cycloadditions. The Huisgen cycloaddition, named in his honor, leads to, inter alia, nitrogen-containing five-membered rings, the central components of many complex natural products. It is thus a key step in the synthesis of alkaloids (mesembrine), antibiotics (e.g., thienamycine), and vitamins, such as vitamin D. Huisgen’s work opened up new areas of research in the life sciences and materials sciences.

Rolf Huisgen was born in 1920 in Gerolstein (Eifel). Er studied chemistry in Bonn and Munich, receiving his doctorate in 1943 for a dissertation on a strychnine alkaloid, supervised by the Nobel prize winner Heinrich Wieland. Huisgen published over 580 scientific papers. In Germany alone, 16 of his students became full professors. Huisgen retired in 1988, but as a professor emeritus, he continues – at the age of 89  – to give scientific lectures.


  • Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Freie Universität Berlin
    Lecture Hall in the Zuse Institute Berlin
    Takustr. 7, 14195 Berlin (subway stop: Dahlem-Dorf, U3)
  • Friday, February 12, 2010, 3 p.m.

For further information, please contact:

Prof. Dr. Hans-Ulrich Reißig
Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy at Freie Universität
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-55366, Email: Hans.Reissig@Chemie.FU-Berlin.de