Special Issue "Special Issue in Honor of Professor Nikolaus (Klaus) Fischer on the Occasion of His 80th Birthday"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2017)
Prof. Dr. Thomas J. Schmidt
Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Phytochemistry, University of Münster, Corrensstrasse 48, D-48149 Münster, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: natural products; anti-parasitic activity; anti-cancer activity; structure elucidation; spectroscopy; computer-aided structure-activity relationship studies
Dr. Wolfgang M. Schuehly
This Special Issue is dedicated to Prof. Dr. Nikolaus (Klaus) Fischer, former Professor at the Department of Chemistry, Louisiana State University, and the Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, on the occasion of his 80th birthday (celebrated on 8 August, 2016), and in honor of his achievements in phytochemistry.
In view of Klaus’ eminent contributions and indefatigable engagement in our scientific field, we have decided that it is time to dedicate a Special Issue of Molecules to him. Both of the Guest Editors spent wonderful times as post-doctoral researchers in Klaus’ lab more than 20 years ago, and we still feel the spirit of working in “Fischer’s group”. As a true pioneer in phytochemical research (this was made official when he was awarded the title of “Phytochemistry Pioneer” by PSNA (Phytochemical Society of North America) in 2006), Klaus has influenced innumerable researchers in the field over the decades of his academic career, many of whom, as we hope, may contribute to this Special Issue.
Klaus’ long life and career can only be summarized here very briefly. It is great fun, and highly recommended, however, to read his short autobiography that was published in 2007 under the title “Ein Wanderer and Einwanderer in Science” (Phytochemistry, 68, 1838–1841).
He was born in summer of 1936 in a small village in Silesia, a former part of Germany, now belonging to Poland, where his untroubled childhood would only last for a few years. Klaus’ father had to go to war in 1939 and never returned; in 1946, the family had to leave Silesia, then taken by the Russians and later the Polish, with only few belongings, and, after an odyssey in these troubled times, was finally able to settle down in a small village in the northwest of Germany where he went to school and soon discovered his love for chemistry.
After taking a two-year chemical technician’s education, Klaus was able to study chemistry at the University of Tübingen from 1957–1961. In 1965, he obtained his doctorate in the group of G. Opitz, who had come from the group of Nobel Prize winner A. Butenandt. His “American experiences” and actual career as a Natural Product Chemist then began in 1965 when he joined the group of Tom Mabry at the University of Texas in Austin, as a post-doc research fellow. Obviously, being quite successful, after two years, in 1967, Klaus was able to take over an Assistant Professorship at Louisiana State University (LSU). Unfortunately, he had to leave after only one year since he did not have a “green card”, so that he had to go back to Europe for two years. There, he took an assistant’s position in the group of A.S. Dreiding at the University of Zurich. However, his path was directed back to the United States where he was able to obtain a permanent “green card” in 1970 and take back his professorship at LSU, which, from that time on (and promoted to associate (1973) and full professorship (1979) and a chaired professorship (Charles Barré Professor of Chemistry, 1997)), was very successful until his first retirement in 1999. Since Klaus obviously did not want to retire, he took on a new challenge in 1999, when he accepted a call to be a Professor at the Dept. of Pharmacognosy at the University of Mississippi (“Ole Miss”), where he also became the Chair and remained in that position for another four years until his second retirement at the end of 2003. Since then, he has lived with his wife Helga in Denton, Texas, where he recently finished his second book on the history of his home village in Silesia.
Klaus’ over 35 years of Professorship have, not only been very successful and productive (over 200 original papers, many book chapters and a book, 26 PhD students, and innumerable MSc and undergraduate students), but, and this we know from our own experience, has at all times been governed by modesty, by humanness, and friendliness towards all his students, coworkers, and colleagues; one cannot forget his sense of subtle humor, which we all enjoyed and remember very well. Many of us also encountered the warm hospitality of the Fischer´s home, which offered space for scientific and non-scientific discussions, the latter revealing the many non-scientific interests that Klaus also cultivated, and still cultivates. Students, post-docs, and colleagues surely remember the generous atmosphere that Klaus and his wife Helga created, for example, at their “Oktoberfest” or at Thanksgiving.
We, therefore, gladly dedicate this Special Issue to you, Klaus, and we really hope you will enjoy it.
Prof. Dr. Thomas J. Schmidt
Dr. Wolfgang M. Schuehly
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