Primo Levi Prize for Henning Hopf

Primo Levi Prize for Henning Hopf

Author: ChemistryViews

Professor Henning Hopf, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany, has been awarded the Primo Levi Prize by the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh, German Chemical Society) and the Italian Chemical Society (Società Chimica Italiana, SCI). The prize is named after the Italian Jewish chemist, writer, and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi and honors chemists or scientists from related disciplines who are particularly committed to protecting human rights and advancing the dialogue between chemistry and society.

The award was presented at the GDCh-Wissenschaftsforum Chemie (WiFo 2023) in Leipzig, Germany on September 4, 2023. The laudatio was held by Professor Gianluca Farinola, President of the Italian Chemical Society. The ceremony was attended by Renzo Levi, the son of Primo Levi. Professor Hopf was unable to be there for health reasons.



Commitment to Chemistry and Society

Henning Hopf receives the award for his significant contributions to both the chemical community and society in general. His commitment as a member of various academies and chemical societies is exemplary. He has long been committed to uncovering the involvement of German chemists and their organizations in the structures of the Nazi state. Among other things, Hopf initiated a scientific study of the predecessor organizations of the GDCh. In 2015, this resulted in the book Chemiker im “Dritten Reich” (Chemists in the “Third Reich”: The German Chemical Society and the Association of German Chemists in the Nazi Regime) commissioned by the GDCh. The work was written by the science historian Professor Helmut Maier and examines the history of the predecessor organizations of the GDCh, with particular reference to the National Socialist era.

Hopf’s commitment to responsible chemistry is also reflected in his work within the International Organization for Chemical Sciences in Development (IOCD), where he is an active member of the Chemists for Sustainability (C4S) group. He has also written on topics such as resilience, circular chemistry/economics, ethics, diversity, and inclusion and has worked on initiatives to promote international collaboration and support chemists in less affluent countries.



Henning Hopf studied chemistry at the University of Göttingen, Germany, and received his Ph.D. in 1967 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI, USA, under the supervision of Harlan L. Goering. He completed his habilitation working with Hans Musso at the Universities of Marburg and Karlsruhe, both Germany. After completing his habilitation in 1972, he remained at the University of Karlsruhe, and became Professor at the University of Würzburg, Germany, in 1975. He moved to the Technische Universität Braunschweig in 1978. Until his retirement in 2006, he was Managing Director of the Institute for Organic Chemistry

Among other honors, Henning Hopf has received the Max Planck Research Award in 1994, the Adolf von Baeyer Commemorative Medal in 1996, the Literature Prize of the German Chemical Industry Fund (FCI) in 2001, the Hanuš Medal of the Czech Chemical Society in 2009, and the Gmelin-Beilstein Commemorative Medal from the German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, GDCh) in 2014. Hopf was a Member of the Board of Trustees of the German Chemical Industry Fund (FCI) from 2002 to 2008 and President of the German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, GDCh) from 2004 to 2005. He is a Chemistry Europe Fellow and has served as Editor of a number of scientific journals, e.g., Chemische Berichte (now European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry) and Liebigs Annalen (today’s European Journal of Organic Chemistry).


Selected Publications


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