Boris Kamenar (1929 ‒ 2012)

[Boris Kamenar]

Boris Kamenar, a fellow of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts ( CASA), and internationally recognized scientist, passed away in Premantura, Croatia, on July 12, 2012. He was a dedicated teacher of inorganic chemistry and crystallography and supervised thirty MSc and PhD students at U. of Zagreb. He was President of the Croatian Chemical Society of Yugoslavia (1976–1980), Sec. of the Yugoslav Centre of Crystallography (1966–1990), Pres. of the Croatian Crystallographic Association (1991–2005), and Vice-President and President of the European Crystallographic Committee (1978–1984). He was the representative of CASA on the Governing Board of the European Science Foundation and Pres. of the Board for international collaboration of CASA. He was a member of World Academy of Sciences and Arts and of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He received the Ruđer Bošković Award, the State Award for Lifetime Achievements, the Božo Težak Medal and the Medal of the Chemistry Department, Zagreb.

Kamenar was born on Feb. 20, 1929 in Sušak (now Rijeka).He graduated in chemical technology at the U. of Zagreb and established the Laboratory for Chemical and Mechanical Investigations at The Cranes Factory and Foundry, Vulkan, in Rijeka. In 1956 he joined Drago Grdenić at the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb working on silicon and boron chemistry.

In 1960 he defended his thesis A new method for obtaining pure silicon and boron at U. of Zagreb and then taught there until he became professor emeritus in 2000.

B. Kamenar did postdoctoral research with Dorothy C. Hodgkin in Oxford (1964/65) where he was later a Visiting Fellow (1971/72). He was also a visiting professor at U. of New Zealand. His scientific interest was X-ray structural analysis of inorganic, coordination and organometallic compounds, and compounds of pharmacological importance. His first structural studies concerned tin(II), arsenic(III) and antimony(III) compounds that confirmed that the Sidgwick-Powell rule could be applied to heavy atoms. In 1973 he published Crystal Structures of Electron-Donor-Acceptor Complexes, a review article written with K. Prout in the book Molecular Complexes (edited by R. Foster). His review article on iron complexes written with Branko Kaitner appeared in Structural Studies on Molecules of Biological Interest, a volume dedicated to Dorothy Hodgkin. He studied molybdenum complexes and polyoxomolybdates, as models of enzymes as well as catalysts. He investigated molecules of biological and pharmacological importance including intermediates in corrin synthesis, macrocyclic antibiotics and potential antihyperglycemics during his long-term collaboration with the PLIVA Pharmaceutical Company. He determined the structure of an histamine H2-receptor antagonist in collaboration with Smith, Klein and French Laboratories Ltd.

He published over 160 scientific papers, many of them in textbooks and monographs. He chaired or co-chaired many national and international conferences, committees and symposia.

Boris Kamenar’s many friends, colleagues and co-workers will miss his powerful, pleasant and optimistic personality.

Marina Cindrić, Zagreb