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Institute of Inorganic Chemistry


The history of the institutes of inorganic Chemistry in Würzburg

In 1903 Wilhelm Manchot (1869-1945) was appointed ao. Professor of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry at Würzburg. In Würzburg, he spent eleven years investigating the processes involved in autoxidation and activation of oxygen before moving to the Technical University in Munich.


His successor was Bruno Emmert (1880-1967), who covered a very broad field. Among other things, he worked on metal complexes of iron(II) and on a variety of synthetic problems in organic chemistry.

Max Schmidt (1925-2002) became the first full professor of inorganic chemistry in 1965 and was involved in the planning of the new institute building at Hubland. He studied and habilitated at the LMU Munich. During his habilitation, he worked on a new class of sulfuric acids. Since then, its name has been closely associated with the element sulfur. At the University of Würzburg, he worked on the targeted synthesis of new sulfur modifications with even and odd number of links. He isolated the mixed sulfur-selenium eight rings and metal-containing sulfur rings. He was also interested in the application of his research results and participated in the problem of removing SO2 from flue gases.

In 1969, the second Chair of Inorganic Chemistry was established in Würzburg, which was occupied by Hubert Schmidbaur (born 1934), who was appointed to Würzburg in 1965. Mr. Schmidbaur held this chair until the winter semester of 1973/1974.

Schmidbauer's successor, Helmut Werner (born 1934), held the chair from 1975 to 2002. Here he worked on the synthesis of the first borazole transition metal and the first triple-decker sandwich complex, of previously unknown metal-basic half-sandwich compounds and homologous series of square-planar metal acumulenes. Werner is also known for the discovery of a new class of phosphane, arsan and Stiban complexes with bridge-forming ER3 ligands.

Schmidt's student, Markus Wieber (1936-2016), remained loyal to the University of Würzburg and was appointed university lecturer in 1966 and scientific councillor and professor in 1967. Until his retirement in 1999, he conducted research on organometallic complexes of the elements of group 13-16. Organoelement heterocylenes, which include five-rings of germanium and silicon, as well as four- and five-rings of phosphorus and its homologues, were also among his scientific work.

Wieber's successor was Martin Kaupp (born 1962), who worked in theoretical chemistry. He succeeded in establishing a new chair for theoretical chemistry in Würzburg. This chair is now located on Campus North. Until his appointment to Berlin in 2010, he contributed to a better understanding of experimental work and its calculations with his quantum chemical calculations for several working groups in Würzburg.

At the same time, Wolfgang Malisch (born 1934) and Wolfdieter A. Schenk (born 1944) were professors of inorganic chemistry in Würzburg. Wolfgang Malisch, who had been a doctoral student of Schmidbaur, focused on metal asilanols and metal siloxanes of the chromium and iron triad, as well as on phosphanido, phosphenium and phosphinide complexes.

Wolfdieter A. Schenk had been a private lecturer since his habilitation in Würzburg in 1980. He was appointed scientific councillor and professor in 1984. He based his research on the coordination chemistry of small, sulfur-containing molecules and their oxides. He showed that thioaldehydes with thioketones enter into stereoselective cycloaddition reactions with diolefins and enones, andSO3 forms a MOS triple ring with transition metals.

Ulrich Schubert (born 1946) came to Würzburg in 1982 and was able to bring his experience in the field of single crystal structure analysis with him. In the meantime, he also took over the management of the Frauenhofer Institute for Silicate Research. In 1994 he accepted a professorship at the Vienna University of Technology and his successor in 1996 was Dietmar Stalke (born 1958). He was at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry until 2005. Particularly noteworthy are his work in the field of crystallography.

After Dietmar Stalke, Sanjay Mathur (born 1968) became the first solid-state chemist to join the institute in 2006 for two years.

In 1995, Reinhold Tacke (born 1949) was appointed to Würzburg after Schmidt's retirement. He occupied the first chair of inorganic chemistry. His scientific focus was on the element silicon. His work dealt with new higher-coordinated silicon compounds, silicon protection groups and explosives. Together with industry, he developed new silicon-containing pharmaceuticals and fragrances.

The second chair at the institute was held by Holger Braunschweig (born 1961) in 2002. He brought boron chemistry to Würzburg. His work focuses on the transition metal chemistry of boron, boron-containing heterocycles and boron-boron multiple bonding systems. In 2008, Holger Braunschweig was awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize for his work.

In 2012, Todd B. Marder (born 1955) succeeded Reinhold Tacke. His focus is on organometallic and boron chemistry. His research focuses on metal-catalyzed borylation reactions, as well as the synthesis and reactivity of diborane(4) compounds.

Udo Radius (born 1965), who received his doctorate in 1994 under Werner in Würzburg, was appointed to Würzburg in 2009. His research focuses on the activation of inert element-element bonds (C-F and C-N), quantum chemical and experimental studies on the mechanism of formation of coordinated P2 units, as well as investigations on the catalytic Si-H/D exchange with carbennickel complexes.

Mathur was succeeded by solid-state chemist Klaus Müller-Buschbaum (born 1968). He is particularly interested in multifunctional metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), as well as one-dimensional and layer-like coordination polymers.

Maik Finze (born 1975) was appointed Schenk's successor to the Institute in 2011. Important topics of his research are the fluorination and electrofluorination of main group element compounds, as well as the production of new low-viscosity ionic liquids. Another focus is on the synthesis of substituted boron clusters and simple borat anions. In May 2016, he took over the management of the newly created third chair at the institute.

As Kaupp's successor, Ulrich Schatzschneider (born 1971), the first bioinorganicist, came to Würzburg. He investigates the synthesis of charged carbenrhodium and carbeniridium complexes and investigates their biological activity against pathogenic microorganisms and cancer cells. Another research focus is on the photoactivating biological activity of transition metal compounds as "CO-releasing molecules".

In 2011, Viktoria H. Gessner (born 1982) began her work as a habilitation candidate at the institute. Her focus was on the synthesis and structure of methanide-based carbene complexes and lithium carbenoids, as well as the chemistry of element- and organometallic compounds of the s-block elements. In the summer of 2015, she completed her habilitation and a year later accepted a professorship at the Ruhr University Bochum.

Andreas Steffen began his independent work at the University of Münster in 2010 before joining Prof. T. Marder's research group at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry in 2011. In 2013 he was appointed Emil Fischer Fellow. His research interests lie in the field of luminescent transition metal complexes. In 2017, he successfully completed his habilitation and received the authorization to teach inorganic chemistry. In September 2018, he accepted a W-3 professorship at the Technical University of Dortmund.

In September 2018, after a three-year construction period, the new institute building C-2 was commissioned. On 4,100 square meters of main floor space, scientists will find a modern infrastructure for research and teaching.

In August 2019, Prof. Holger Helten was appointed to a Heisenberg Professorship at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry. His research activities focus on the development of novel polymers and molecular materials containing both organic and inorganic assemblies. With this concept, it is possible to build systems whose special properties and functionalities cannot be realized with purely organic compounds.

Just one year later, Ms. Agnieszka Nowak-Król accepted a W1 tenure-track professorship at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry. Prof. Nowak-Król's group is concerned with the development of efficient synthesis methods for the synthesis of complex conjugated systems as well as low-viscosity, non-volatile organic dyes with tailor-made photophysical properties.

After completing her habilitation, Dr. Alexandra Friedrich was appointed Privatdozentin August 2021. Alexandra Friedrich has been working at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry since 2015 and habilitated in mineralogy at Goethe University Frankfurt in 2017. Her research focuses on the field of structural crystallography. In particular, she is concerned with the pressure-induced changes from intermolecular interactions up to polymerization for the production of new carbon-based nanomaterials, as well as with the time-resolved change of the crystal structure of luminescent molecular compounds in the excited state.

Also in 2021, Cristpin Lichtenberg completed his habilitation in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Würzburg and shortly thereafter, Crispin Lichtenberg took up a professorship in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Marbug in October 2021.

A milestone in the institute's history is the commissioning of the new research building Institute for Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis with Boron. After a construction period of just under three years, the building, which is organizationally assigned to the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, was released for use on 07.12.2021. The building houses state-of-the-art inorganic chemical research laboratories on 1300 square meters of main floor space.

The year 2022 began with a new appointment. On 15.01.2022, Prof. Dr. Qing Ye took up a W-2 professorship for Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Würzburg. Prof Qing was an associate professor at the South University of Science and Technology of China from 2017 to 2021 at Dr. Qing Ye. His research interests are the synthesis and characterization of metal aboraarenes, the development of boron cluster-functionalized Lewis superacids and their application in catalysis and optoelectronic materials, and the development of novel boron-centered ligands.

As part of the Open Topic Junior Professorships program at the University of Würzburg, Prof. Gabriele Hierlmeier was appointed to the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry on August 1st, 2023. Gabriele Hierlmeier deals with organometallic chemistry for the development and investigation of methods relevant to synthesis and catalysis. A focus of the planned work is on the rational design of ligands and catalysts through mechanistic studies.