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Hans H. Baer

by Susan J. Ainsworth
March 9, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 10

Hans H. Baer, 88, retired professor of organic chemistry at the University of Ottawa, died on Nov. 16, 2014, in Ottawa, Ontario.

Born in Karlsruhe, Germany, Baer received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Heidelberg in 1952.

He then worked as a research associate to 1938 Chemistry Nobelist Richard Kuhn at Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg.

From 1957 until 1959, Baer served as an assistant research professor in the department of biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, under Hermann Fischer. Baer then worked as a visiting professor at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

In 1961, he was appointed associate professor of chemistry at the University of Ottawa; he was promoted to professor in 1965. He taught organic chemistry to undergraduate and graduate students, and he served as department chair from 1969 to 1975.

With a passion for exploring the nature of biologically active organic compounds, Baer conducted groundbreaking work on oligosaccharides derived from human breast milk, as well as on nitro-carbohydrates used in antibiotic research. He published 182 peer-reviewed papers.

After his formal retirement in 1992, Baer continued to serve as an editor for several European and North American scientific journals and to work in his lab, isolating and purifying rare oligosaccharides for use by other researchers.

He was active in numerous international scientific groups, including the International Carbohydrate Organization, and was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1961. He received the Claude S. Hudson Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry from ACS in 1975.

He is remembered as a modest and private man who never sought the limelight. Though he had no formal training in architecture, he designed his family’s house and cottage, and was an avid traveler who loved to explore exotic corners of the globe.

He is survived by Gertrud, his wife of 57 years; his son, Thomas; his daughter, Nicole; and three 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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