Untiring commitment to responsible chemistry - Primo Levi Prize for Henning Hopf
As part of the GDCh Science Forum Chemistry 2023 (WiFo) of the German Chemical Society (GDCh), Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Henning Hopf will be awarded the Primo Levi Prize on September 4. He will receive the prize, which is awarded jointly by the GDCh and the Italian Chemical Society (SCI), at the opening ceremony of WiFo 2023 in the KONGRESSHALLE am Zoo in Leipzig.
The Primo Levi Prize is bestowed on chemists or scientists in chemistry-related disciplines who have made a special contribution to the protection of human rights, thus advancing the dialogue between chemistry and society. This year's laureate, Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. 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, including the GDCh, is exemplary. In particular, he has long been committed to exposing the involvement of German chemists and their organizations in the structures of the Nazi state. Among other activities, Hopf initiated a scientific investigation of the GDCh's predecessor organizations, resulting in the book 'Chemiker im "Dritten Reich" – Die Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft und der Verein Deutscher Chemiker im NS-Herrschaftsapparat', commissioned by the GDCh in 2015. The work was written by the historian of science Professor Dr. Helmut Maier and illuminates in detail the history of the predecessor organizations of the GDCh, with particular emphasis on the period of National Socialism.
Hopf's tireless commitment to responsible chemistry is further demonstrated by 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. His essays on topics such as resilience, circular chemistry/economics, ethics, diversity, and inclusion have attracted much attention, and Hopf's initiatives to promote international collaboration and support chemists in less affluent countries also make him a worthy recipient of the Primo Levi Prize.
Henning Hopf was born in Wildeshausen, Lower Saxony, in 1940 and studied chemistry at the University of Göttingen and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA. After completing his doctorate in the USA, he returned to Germany for his habilitation, first at the University of Marburg and then at the University of Karlsruhe. After a professorship at the University of Würzburg, Hopf received a call to the Technical University of Braunschweig in 1978. He received numerous high awards, including the Adolf-von-Baeyer-Denkmünze of the GDCh in 1996. He held several visiting professorships, served on several editorial boards of journals, and conducted highly successful research in the field of organic chemistry. He has been associated with the GDCh for many years: In addition to serving on the Board of Directors and holding the office of President in 2004 and 2005, he has represented the GDCh in numerous committees with great commitment and has given the GDCh many impulses. In 2015, he was appointed an honorary member.
The Primo Levi Prize commemorates the Italian writer and chemist who was deported to Auschwitz as a Jewish resistance fighter. He survived and is considered an important representative of Holocaust literature. His works are dedicated to the memory of the victims and oppose forgetting. Primo Levi would have been 104 years old on July 31, 2023.
With around 30,000 members, the German Chemical Society (GDCh) is one of the largest chemical societies in the world. Every two years, it organizes the GDCh Science Forum (WiFo) Chemistry at different venues in Germany. WiFo 2023 will take place under the motto "Rethinking Chemistry" from September 4 to 6, 2023, at the KONGRESSHALLE am Zoo in Leipzig. Participants can expect a varied program of plenary lectures, main symposia, a poster and an industrial exhibition. In addition, numerous prestigious awards will be given. Registration is available at https://www.wifo2023.de/en.