Thieme Chemistry mourns the loss of Professor Victor Snieckus

On December 18, 2020, the chemist Professor Victor Snieckus passed away at the age of 83. With him, Thieme Chemistry loses a pioneering scientist and visionary in his field. Among other achievements, Victor 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.

The collaboration between Victor Snieckus and Thieme began in 1990. As an editorial board member with innovative ideas, he was instrumental in developing SYNLETT and SYNFACTS, both since their launch in 1989 and 2005, respectively. He worked as SYNFACTS editorial board member and author for articles in the category “Synthesis of Heterocycles” until the end of 2020. Besides this, Victor Snieckus was also responsible as a volume editor for the Science of Synthesis (SOS) series for the original volumes on lithium chemistry.
“Vic was an outgoing, kind and very sociable man. Our entire team enjoyed intense discussions and countless fun encounters that will be remembered forever,” said Dr. Susanne Haak, Senior Director Thieme Chemistry Journals. “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.”


In 2017, we published a SYNLETT Special Issue dedicated to Victor Snieckus on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

Read the Editorial (written by P. Andrew Evans, James R. Green and Tomislav Rovis)

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About Victor Snieckus

Victor A. Snieckus was born in 1937 in Kaunas, Lithuania. After World War II, he studied chemistry at the University of Alberta and the University of California, Berkeley, and received his PhD from the University of Oregon in 1965. After a postdoctoral period at the National Research Council in Ottawa, he joined the University of Waterloo as an assistant professor in 1967 where he 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 where he held the Bader Chair in Organic Chemistry until 2009. After retiring from teaching in 2009, he remained active in research at the university.

Victor Snieckus and his team were most influential pioneers in organolithium and heterocyclic chemistry. Victor is probably most associated with the development the directed ortho metalation (DoM) reaction. In close collaboration with industrial chemists, 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.


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