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Keith N. Slessor

by Susan J. Ainsworth
November 12, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 46

Credit: Simon Fraser University
This is a photo of Keith Slessor.
Credit: Simon Fraser University

Keith N. Slessor, 73, a professor of chemistry emeritus at Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, British Columbia, died of cancer on July 18.

Born in Comox, British Columbia, Slessor earned a B.Sc. in chemistry and physics in 1960 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of British Columbia in 1964.

He then served as a postdoctoral research associate, first at the University of London and then at Stockholm University, before joining Simon Fraser University in 1966 as one of the founding faculty members of its chemistry department.

He taught organic chemistry to undergraduate students and developed and taught “Science and Its Impact on Society,” a course for undergraduates in the social sciences and humanities.

In his research, he collaborated with Simon Fraser colleague Mark L. Winston on the elucidation of the queen bee pheromone. He also studied chemical ecology and the synthesis of chiral moth and beetle pheromones.

An early proponent of interdisciplinary research, Slessor shared numerous awards with his collaborators, including the Manning Innovation Award in 1997 and the British Columbia Science & Engineering Gold Medal in Natural Sciences in 2003. Slessor also received Simon Fraser’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 1985. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1969.

An avid fly fisherman with a refined skill for woodworking, Slessor also enjoyed photography, choral singing, and reading.

Slessor is survived by his wife of 52 years, Marie; daughter, Karen; sons, Mike and Graham; and four grandchildren.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.


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