Universiteit Leiden

nl en

In Memoriam Gerrit Lodder

On September 30, 2022, our esteemed former colleague Gerrit Lodder passed away from the effects of Parkinson's disease. He leaves behind his wife Adry, his sons Gert-Jan and Michiel, his daughters-in-law Annerieke and Manyana and grandchildren Annelot and Gijs in sadness, but also in the knowledge that he had a wonderful life. Gerrit was 82 years old.

Gerrit studied chemistry at Leiden University, where he started his PhD research in 1966 under the supervision of Professor Dr. Egbert Havinga. In 1971 Gerrit defended his thesis entitled 'Photochemical isomerization and hydrogen isotope exchange of some simple aromatic compounds'. After a short stay as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Berkeley (United States), where Gerrit further developed his skills and knowledge in theoretical and practical aspects of physical organic chemistry, Gerrit was appointed Assistant Professor at Leiden University. During his career, the Leiden Institute of Chemistry was established, which he helped shape as a researcher and teacher. After a fruitful career as an academic with an in-depth knowledge of the structure and reactivity of organic molecules, Gerrit retired as Associate Professor in 2005. After his retirement and until just before his death, Gerrit interacted and advised his fellow organic chemists, first as a guest assistant at the Gorlaeus Laboratories and later more from a distance.

Gerrit's research was of a high fundamental nature. He preferred to work with a team of four or five undergraduate and graduate students on understanding organic molecules, their structure and reactivity. In doing so, he linked theory to practice and was especially interested in why some molecules did, and others, structurally resembling molecules, did not show a certain reactivity. He did not shy away from theoretical as well as practical challenges and managed to capture the reactivity and selectivity of sometimes very exotic and highly reactive molecules. With his work, Gerrit has made important contributions to the development of synthetic organic chemistry, and his pursuit to fundamentally understand chemical transformations remains a leitmotif within the Leiden organic chemistry department to this day.

Besides being a gifted researcher, Gerrit was one of the best and most inspiring teachers in organic chemistry who worked at Leiden University. He combined in-depth knowledge with an ability to explain very complex concepts in a very clear and calm manner. He brought very complex matter alive and in this way ethused several generations of students in field of organic chemistry. Gerrit liked to give his lectures in collaboration with fellow teachers, preferably with younger staff. In this way, and according to a system that is still used today by the organic chemistry department, Gerrit was not only able to transfer his knowledge to new generations of young researchers, but also to share his experience and didactic skills with junior teachers.

With the death of Gerrit, we have lost a highly valued colleague, mentor and friend. We think back with great pleasure and gratitude to the years that we had the opportunity to work with Gerrit. We wish his family, friends, colleagues, students and students a lot of strength in coping with this great loss.

On behalf of the Leiden organic chemistry community, Hermen Overkleeft (professor, bio-organic synthesis)

On behalf of the Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Marcellus Ubbink (scientific director)

This website uses cookies.  More information.