||John L. Burmeister, Editor
IN MEMORIAL: PROF. LUIGI M. VENANZI (1927-2000)
Our Department initiated its Great Leap Forward program in graduate
education at the start of the 70's. Prof. Luigi Venanzi,
who served as our Chairman from 1971-73, played a pivotal role in
generating the necessary initial momentum. Sadly, he succumbed to
colon cancer in Zurich, Switzerland, on October 11, 2000.
Luigi was, quite literally, a citizen of the world. Born in
Italy, and fluent in several languages, he received his Dipl.
Chem. in 1952 from the University of Kiel, Germany. In 1958, he
earned his D. Phil. from Oxford University. His initial teaching
position in the U.S. was at SUNY-Albany, from which he moved to
Newark, in 1971, as the E. I. duPont de Nemours Professor and
Chairman of the Department of Chemistry. In 1973, he returned
to Europe, as the Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the Swiss
Eidgenossiche Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich, where he
stayed until his retirement.
Luigi was internationally known for his pioneering studies of
the coordination chemistry of phosphorus and arsenic ligands,
which produced the first example of a trans-ligated bidentate
ligand of any type. He also produced numerous papers on metal-olefin
complexes and coordination compounds of cyanocarbons. Along with
his long-time research associate, Dr. Paul Pregosin, he
produced much of the seminal work utilizing phosphorus-31 NMR
as a probe for the elucidation of the geometric and electronic
structures of phosphine complexes.
On a more personal note, your Editor regarded him as the older
brother that I never had. His friendship and wise counsel were
invaluable to me, both professionally and personally. Although
his stay with us was short, its impact will be long. The nom
de plume coined for him by the irascible (late)
Prof. Jim Moore - "Prof. Luigi Bananas" - will be, forever,
etched in my memory.
Luigi is survived by his wife Josephine, son Thomas (an engineer
working for Swiss Air), and daughter Mary (an M.D.). Happily,
he lived long enough to witness Mary's marriage on 10/7/00.