On December 24th, Prof. Dr. Albert van Leusen passed away at the age of 86. From 1955 to 1998, Prof. van Leusen was appointed at our university and from 1980, he was full professor. Albert van Leusen carried out his PhD under Prof. J. Strating, and was, like his promotor, a synthetic chemist pur sang. His primary focus was the development of methods in synthesis in the area of heterocyclic chemistry. His research led to the development of tosylmethyl isocyanide, TosMIC, in 1972. This reagent became very popular as it enabled the efficient synthesis of oxazolidines, oxazoles, indoles, pyrroles, thiazoles and triazoles. The van Leusen reaction that bears his name is still one of the most efficient synthetic methods for the preparation of imidazoles. The popularity of TosMIC increased further with the advent of multicomponent reactions, a frequently used method for the synthesis of drug-like compounds.
In memory of his promotor Prof. J. Strating, van Leusen took the initiative to establish the Strating Award, the annual prize for the best colloquium in the MSc Chemistry program. After his retirement, van Leusen stayed as a member of the board of the H.J. Backer Foundation for many years. This foundation supports students in (organic) chemistry in Groningen and is well-known in the Netherlands because of the Backer KNCV-Prize, the annual prize for the best PhD thesis in organic chemistry in the Netherlands
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