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Bescheiden maar onverzettelijk

Een biografie van professor Hilmar Johannes Backer

Ulco Kooystra

ISBN-13: 9789077922552

Publication year: 2009

Publication type: Book

Pages: 232

Cover: Softcover

Format: 205 x 205 x 19 mm; 654 g; b. & w. ill.

Price excl. VAT: 25.00

Price incl. VAT: 27.25

Hilmar Johannes Backer was Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Groningen from 1916 to 1952. His research was focused on organic synthesis, creating new compounds and finding better synthetic routes for already existing chemical substances. Despite two wars interrupting his career, he succeeded in building an international reputation in his field.

Aside from his scientific work, Prof. Backer put much effort in supporting his students. It was his belief that they should see more than lectures and scientific books, become acquainted with the companies that would employ them in the future, visit scientific conferences and meet fellow students from other Dutch universities and from abroad. He was one of the first professors to organize excursions. He used his administrative functions to advocate better non-academic facilities, such as sports accommodations. Especially during the war years, Backer made himself very useful to the students by organizing summer courses in the town of Ter Apel, by acting as a liaison for students who were sent to Germany for forced labour and as president of the Student Relief Fund. He was a modest, almost shy person. But if he had set his mind on something, he would never budge.


1. Vroege passie 9    2. De leermeester 21    3. Een experimenteerkunstenaar 27    4. Waar bent u mee bezig? 39    5. Een zeer welwillend docent 53    6. Een zorgend en zorgzaam leider 65    7. Niemand hoefde pecuniae causa thuis te blijven 79    8. Een zingende rector 85    9. Zelfs de meest onmogelijke mensen 99    10. Uitgeput en apathisch 107    11. Immer onvermoeid voorop 123    12. Het was Boerhaave 135    13. Slechts een schim 141    14. Backer als wetenschapper 155    15. De mens Backer 169    16. Backers organisch gezin 181    17. English summary 193    Dankwoord 203    Appendix: Promoties bij prof. H.J. Backer 205    Referenties 211    Index 227


- Gerard Stout in NVOX 7, p. 325 (

Extra information

Overzicht van de boeken in de serie Biografieën van Groningse Hoogleraren.

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