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Journal logoJOURNAL OF
ISSN: 1600-5767

Lip Lin Koh (1935–2015)

aSecretary and Treasurer, Asian Crystallographic Association, and Department of Chemistry, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543
*Correspondence e-mail:

(Received 26 March 2015; accepted 26 March 2015; online 16 April 2015)

Keywords: obituary.

A notable member of the crystallographic community from Singapore, Professor Lip Lin Koh[link] died of pneumonia on 12 February 2015 at the age of 79. He was one of Singapore's pioneers in education, a former Dean of Science as well as an ex-MP of Singapore.

[Figure 1]
Figure 1
Lip Lin Koh.

As far as Singapore is concerned, X-ray crystallography started only recently. Professor Lip Lin Koh was one of the researchers who started practising crystallography in Singapore and was the most distinguished X-ray crystallographer in Singapore. He has contributed to the growth of crystallography on this island for more than 40 years. He organized the successful Inaugural Conference of the Asian Crystallographic Association, AsCA '92, in Singapore, 14–16 November 1992. He was also the first Singaporean to serve as a Co-editor of the scientific journal Acta Crystallographica during the period 1994–1997. He had been helping the Singapore National Crystal Growing Challenge organizers as one of the judges in selecting the winners. Professor Koh was very active in solving and refining difficult structures for the X-ray Diffraction Laboratory and was responsible for a number of publications related to X-ray crystallography from Singapore until the last day of his life.

Professor Koh was among the first batch of graduates at the Chinese-Medium Nanyang University or Nantah. He went on to pursue his PhD degree at Boston University. He later taught in the Department of Chemistry at Nanyang University (from 1964 to 1979) and at the National University of Singapore (from 1980 to 1996). He was the first Dean of Science at the National University of Singapore and had previously served as the Head of Department of Chemistry and Dean of Science at Nanyang University, before the merger of Nanyang University and the University of Singapore to form the National University of Singapore (NUS).

After his retirement from the Department of Chemistry, NUS, he was engaged as a part-time research fellow at CE Resources Pte Ltd, an NUS spin-off company. He rejoined the department as an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in 2002, offering selfless guidance to staff and students on solving crystal structures with his expertise. He is undeniably one of the best crystallographers in Singapore and was particularly good at solving knotty disorder problems.

He had also served the NUS as a member of the council. He used to helm the Singapore Association for the Advancement of Science as President. Apart from his enduring contributions to the university and scientific community, Professor Koh also provided his service to the general public. From 1979 to 1996, Professor Koh was an elected Member of Parliament of Singapore, playing his part in national policies. He was conferred the Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 1978. In appreciation of his selfless dedication, long-term contribution, and service to the NUS and to the public, he was awarded the Outstanding Science Alumni Awards in 2005.

His integrity, passion, commitment and drive will be well remembered by all who knew him. He was an inspiration to all scientists in Singapore. Professor Koh will be deeply missed by the NUS and Singaporean researchers, as well as by the Asian crystallographic community, and will be fondly remembered by all.

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