Lewis Mander made important contributions to the total synthesis of natural products, and in particular the class of plant growth regulators known as gibberellins. These substances, especially the parent gibberellic acid, represent an awesome combination of functional groups and stereochemistry. To achieve these synthetic objectives, he had to develop new methods for the elaboration of such functional arrays and his use of diazoketone cyclisations and the Birch reduction products of aromatic acids have not only enabled him to achieve an elegant synthesis of gibberellic acid and related C20 gibberellins but have at the same time contributed substantially to organic synthetic methodology. His parallel efforts in the area of synthetic models for cytochrome oxidase resulted in the preparations of binuclear iron–copper porphyrins thereby revealing a clearly defined synthetic model for comparison to these important natural enzymes.
Professor Lewis Mander FRS died on 8 February 2020.