Issue Date: September 26, 2011
Hans Wynberg, 88, an emeritus professor of organic chemistry at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, died on May 25, in Midlaren, the Netherlands.
Born in Amsterdam, Wynberg was sent by his parents to the U.S. at the age of 17 to escape World War II. After finishing high school in New York City, he took a summer job at the production site of Charles Pfizer & Co., where the first batches of penicillin were produced. He then served in Europe for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services. While there, he was notified that his family members had been killed in concentration camps.
After the war, Wynberg earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Cornell University before earning a Ph.D. in 1952 with William S. Johnson at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
He accepted a postdoctoral appointment at Grinnell College, in Iowa, before serving as an assistant professor there. In 1958, Wynberg returned to the Netherlands as a Fulbright fellow at Leiden University. He was appointed full professor of organic chemistry at the University of Groningen two years later.
Wynberg helped the university’s organic chemistry laboratory gain international recognition in stereochemistry and innovative synthetic chemistry.
After his mandatory retirement in 1987, Wynberg started the contract research firm Syncom. Wynberg was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1950.
He is survived by his wife, Elly; their four children; and eight grandchildren.
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