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Prof V. Pretorius

(1928 - 1989)

Prof Victor Pretorius is in 1960 op die jeugdige ouderdom van 32 as hoof van die Departement Fisiese en Teoretiese Chemieaangewys. Hy word die beste onthou vir sy werk op die vlamionisasieaanwyser, turbulensievloeichromatografie, die teorie van hoëverrigtingvloeistofchromatografie, en die gebruik van elektro-osmotiese vloei in chromatografie. Ander bydraes was syaanvoorwerk van ©° behoorlike studie op die oplossingseffek in GC-inlaattegnieke, wat tot die ontwikkeling van die dinamiese
oplossingseffekinlaat gelei het. Die avontuurlustige Prof Pretorius het sy eerste jaar van studie aan die Universiteit van dieWitwatersrand (Wits) onderbreek om ©° grootwildjagter te word. Na ©° kort tydperk in Mosambiek het hy in 1947 na Suid-Afrika teruggekeer om as ©° student in landbouwetenskappe aan UP te registreer. Halfpad deur sy studie het hy egter besluit om sykursus na chemie te verander. Hy het sy BSc-graad (Chemie en Wiskunde) behaal en in 1951 sy MSc-graad in Fisiese Chemie (Cum Laude) behaal. Hy het in 1952 ©° Rhodes-beurs ontvang en kinetika aan die Oxford-universiteit onder NobelpryswennerSir Cyril Hinshelwood studeer. Hy het in 1955 na sy alma mater teruggekeer met ©° DPhil (Oxon), waar hy gevorder het van senior dosent (1957) tot professor en hoof van die Departement Fisiese en TeoretieseChemie in 1960. In 1966, is hy as Direkteur van die Wetenskaplike Navorsings- en Nywerheidsraad (WNNR) se Navorsingseenheid vir Chromatografie aangewys. Vanaf1975 tot met sy dood, was hy Direkteur van UP se Instituut vir Chromatografie. Hy was mederedakteur van die Journal for High Resolution Chromatography en ©° lid van dieadviesraad van Separation Science en van die Journal of Liquid Chromatography. Hy is in 1966 as President van die Suid-Afrikaanse Chemiese Instituut, President van dieGesamentlike Raad van Wetenskaplike Verenigings in 1969 en in 1975 as President van die Vereniging van Wetenskaplike en Tegniese Verenigings aangewys. Hy was van 1962©° direkteur van die Stigting vir Onderwys, Wetenskap en Tegnologie, ©° adviseur vir die
Nasionale Chemiese Navorsingslaboratoriums van 1968 tot 1970 en van 1982 Presidentvan die Suid-Afrikaanse Raad vir Natuurwetenskaplikes. Hy het verskeie toekennings vir sy navorsing ontvang, wat ©° Carnegie-beurs, die AECI-goue medalje, Oppenheimer- Universiteit van Pretoria 77 University of Pretoria beurs, die Havenga-prys vir Chemie, die goue medalje van die Suid-Afrikaanse Chemiese Instituut, die Tswett–internasionalemedalje, die Chromatografie-gedenkmedalje van die Academy of Sciences, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), die
Suider-Afrikaanse medalje van die Suid-Afrikaanse Vereniging vir die Bevordering van Wetenskap, die Claude Harris LeonStigtingstoekenning, ‘n eretoekenning van die Pretoria Technikon en UP se Uitnemende Presteerderstoekenning insluit. Hy was skrywer en medeskrywer van 160 wetenskaplike publikasies, bykans eksklusief op die gebied van chromatografie.

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Prof Victor Pretorius was appointed as head of the Department of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry in 1960 at the youthfulage of 32. He is best remembered for his work on the flame ionization detector, turbulent flow chromatography, the theory of high performance liquid chromatography, and on the use of electro-osmotic flow in chromatography. Other contributions were hisinitiation of a thorough study into the solvent effect in GC-inlet techniques, which culminated in the development of the dynamic solvent effect inlet. The adventurous Prof Pretorius interrupted his first year of studies at the University of the Witwatersrand(Wits) to become a big game hunter. After a short spell in Mozambique he returned to South Africa in 1947 to register as a
student in agricultural sciences at UP. Midway through, he decided to change his course of study to chemistry. He completed hisBSc degree (Chemistry and Mathematics) and in 1951 completed his MSc degree in Physical Chemistry with distinction. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1952 and studied kinetics at Oxford University under Nobel Laureate Sir Cyril Hinshelwood.He returned to his alma mater in 1955 with a DPhil (Oxon), where he progressed from senior lecturer (1957) to the position of professor and head of the Department of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry in 1960. In 1966 he was appointed as Directorof the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) research unit for chromatography. From 1975 until his death, he was Director of UP’s Institute for Chromatography. He was co-editor of the Journal for High Resolution Chromatography and amember of the advisory board of Separation Science and of the Journal of Liquid Chromatography. He was elected as President of the South African Chemical Institute in 1966, President of the Joint Council of Scientific Societies in 1969 and in 1975 asPresident of the Association of Scientific and Technical Societies. He was a Director of the Foundation for Education, Science and Technology from 1962, an advisor to the National Chemical Research Laboratories from 1968 to 1970, and the Presidentof the South African Council for Natural Scientists from 1982. He received various awards for his research, including a Carnegie
Fellowship, the AECI Gold Medal, Oppenheimer Fellowship, the Havenga Prize in Chemistry, the Gold Medal of the SouthAfrican Chemical Institute, the Tswett International Medal, the Chromatography Memorial Medal of the Academy of Sciences, USSR, the South Africa Medal of the Southern African Association for the Advancement of Science, the Claude Harris LeonFoundation Award, Honours Award (Pretoria Technikon) and the UP Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement. He was author and co-author of 160 scientific publications, almost exclusively in the field of chromatography.