11 November 1919 - 20 June 2018
Viktor Thaller was born in Zagreb (in former Yugoslavia) on November 11th 1919 and studied Chemistry at the University of Zagreb (1938-43). He spent a year at the University of Heidelberg in Germany on a scholarship before returning to Zagreb in 1943 to graduate. In 1947 he joined the Institute for Organic Chemistry under Prof. K. Balenovic and worked on Amino Acids. In 1951 he obtained a Rockefeller fellowship to work at the University of Manchester with Prof. Sir Ewart R.H. Jones with whom he formed a lifelong friendship. In 1956, professor Jones invited Viktor to join the department that he was forming in the Dyson Perrins Laboratory, Oxford. The work on the antifungal antibiotic lagosin proceeded extremely well and in 1958 Viktor was given a permanent appointment. The group's research focus moved to plant and fungal polyacetylenes. Viktor's other duties involved demonstrating, lecturing and mentoring. He is fondly remembered by many of his former students.
In 1964 he became a Fellow of Linacre College. On Sir Ewart Jones' retirement in 1977 Viktor worked with his successor, Prof. Jack Baldwin with whom he collaborated on elucidating the biosynthesis of fungal isonitriles.
Although Viktor officially retired in 1987 he continued to demonstrate to undergraduates till 2000 when at the age of 80 he deemed it time to stop. A true gentleman till the end, Viktor passed away peacefully on 20th June 2018 at home.