Sondheimer, Franz

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SONDHEIMER, FRANZ (1926–1981) organic chemist. Born in Stuttgart, Germany, he was educated at Highgate School, London (1940–43) before gaining his Ph.D. from Imperial College, London. He was a research fellow at Harvard University (1949–52) and associate director of research at Syntex s.a. in Mexico City (1952–56) before becoming head of the organic chemistry department of the Weizmann Institute (1956–64) and also Rebecca and Israel Sieff Professor of Organic Chemistry (1960–64). During this period he retained his association with Syntex as vice president of research (1961–63). He returned to England as Royal Society Research Professor of Organic Chemistry, first at Cambridge University (1964–67), where he was also a Fellow of Churchill College, and from 1967 at University College, London. Sondheimer's research concerned the total synthesis of many natural products and in particular steroid hormones and their analogues and novel macrocyclic compounds. His many awards included the Israel Prize in exact sciences (1960), election to the Royal Society of London (1967), and the American Chemical Society's Sigma Award for creative work in synthetic organic chemistry (1976). His other main interest was classical music.

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]