Universiteit Leiden

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In Memoriam: Robert Louw 1936-2023

On 18 February 2023, our esteemed former colleague Robert Louw passed away. Rob was 86 years old.

Rob Louw received his doctorate from Prof E.C. Kooyman at Leiden University in 1964 for his thesis entitled 'Thermolysis of allyl esters'. Rob was appointed lecturer at Leiden University in 1964 and professor of organic chemistry in 1979. After a fruitful career as an academic, Rob delivered his valedictory lecture as Professor of Environmental Chemistry in 2002.

Rob's research mainly involved gas-phase reactions in which he studied the thermal decomposition of organic molecules. He also used catalysts in this process and investigated how chlorinated aromatic compounds can be safely decomposed without creating the highly toxic PAHs (polyaromatic hydrocarbons). These investigations may be marked as a starting point of environmental research. In 1985, Rob developed the course General Environmental Chemistry, which he taught until his retirement, introducing many students to the principles of environmental chemistry.

We wish family and friends strength in coping with this loss.

On behalf of the Leiden Institute of Chemical Research, Marcellus Ubbink (Scientific Director).

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