In memoriam: Ian Manners



It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Ian Manners on December 3, 2023. Our thoughts are with his wife Deborah, his two children and four grandchildren.

Ian was an outstanding member of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Victoria, where he held the Canada 150 Research Chair, one of only 20 highly prestigious national appointments, in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. We were proud and honoured to have Ian as a colleague, and he frequently told us how much he enjoyed UVic and appreciated living in Victoria. As a world-leading scientist, he advanced UVic to the global frontier of research activity, including the highest level of research teaching and training. He was universally respected for both his intellect and his friendly, supportive, respectful personality. Ian’s scientific and educational contributions will continue to elevate the Department of Chemistry, his students, UVic and humanity.

“Ian was a giant of chemical research,” recalls his colleague Jeremy Wulff. “Right from the first day of his arrival in our department, Ian was unfailingly generous with his time, with his expertise, and with his equipment—all of which benefited other research groups enormously. His passing is a tremendous loss to the world of science, but he will live on through the large number of graduates who have come out of his lab, many of whom have become successful faculty in their own right.”

UVic Vice-President Research and Innovation Lisa Kalynchuk says, “Ian was kind, humble and an extraordinary mentor throughout his esteemed career. His contribution to the global scientific community was profound and the impact he had on the research community at UVic is beyond measure.”

Ian is a BSc and PhD graduate of the University of Bristol. After postdoctoral experiences at the University of Aachen and Pennsylvania State University, he was appointed as assistant professor at the University of Toronto in 1990 and full professor in 1995. His achievements were recognized by appointment as one of the first Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs in 2001. He was recruited back to Bristol in 2006, where he was appointed as a highly prestigious Marie Curie Chair. In 2018, he joined UVic as a C150 Chair.

Ian made substantive and significant contributions in several research areas, with emphasis on the synthesis, discovery, development and applications of new materials. His catalysis research has applications for hydrogen storage. His metallopolymers research has applications for charge transport materials, magnetic materials, ceramic materials, stimuli responsive materials, materials for sensors, liquid crystalline materials and etch resists for nanolithography. His living crystallization-driven self-assembly research has applications for information storage, nanoelectronics and medicine.

Ian’s contributions to teaching and research training for undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows were exceptional. Throughout his career, he typically supervised a research group of 25-35 coworkers. His website lists more than 100 former research coworkers who hold prominent positions in industrial or government research and more than 50 former research coworkers who hold academic positions around the world or in Canada.

Ian was a member of editorial boards for many prominent scientific journals and was a regular plenary speaker at many high-profile scientific conferences. His research achievements were recognized throughout his career with more than 20 national and international awards, including the E.W.R. Steacie Prize (Canada), the Henry Marshall Tory Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Society of Chemistry De Gennes Prize, the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award (Germany), and the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (US). He was an elected fellow of both the Canadian and the British National Academies of Science, as well as the European Academy of Science (EURASC). His research programs were extensively funded by external agencies and industry collaborations for 33 years. He has published more than 800 peer-reviewed research articles in internationally prominent journals and his h-index of 123 is comparable to the h-indices of recent chemistry Nobel laureates.

Ian’s legacy will continue and grow. Never forgotten. Always appreciated. Thank you, Ian.

A Celebration of Life will be held on December 12, 2023 at 2:00 pm in the Sequoia Centre at McCall Gardens. Those not able to attend in person, may join virtually.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Victoria Hospice. Condolence messages may be shared online.

The university flag will be lowered in Ian's honour on December 12, 2023.

—Submitted by Neil Burford, professor emeritus



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Keywords: in memoriam, chemistry

People: Ian Manners

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