Remembering Ian Manners

December 13, 2023 by Alyx Dellamonica

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Ian Manners (March 19, 1961- December 3, 2023).

Ian took up his first faculty position at the University of Toronto Department of Chemistry in 1990, contributing to the department for 15 years before moving to the UK in 2006 to take up a position at the University of Bristol and a Marie Curie Chair. He returned to Canada in 2018, where he joined the faculty at the University of Victoria.  

"Ian was a force of nature and a passionate teacher, educator and researcher,” said Department of Chemistry Chair Mark Lautens. “He left an indelible legacy from his work in Toronto, Bristol and at the University of Victoria as a Canada 150 Research Chair.” 

Manners was a pioneer in organometallic polymers and boron chemistry. Professor Mitch Winnik, who co-authored 189 papers with Manners over the course of their overlapping careers, said that he maintained a close collaboration with UofT during his years in Bristol. “I sent students and postdocs to Bristol to prepare polymers that we subsequently studied here.” 

Manners remained a great departmental citizen and champion for UofT even after he had left. Professor Dwight Seferos described speaking to him in 2008 when he was considering starting a research group within the department. “He talked about his colleagues, the department and most importantly the students, impressing upon me how much he enjoyed beginning his independent career in Toronto.”  

Professor Geoff Ozin praised Manners for his excitement, curiosity, wonderment and passion for chemistry, which he described as infectious. “His vision was extraordinary.”  

All of his colleagues were quick to mention Manners’s abundant generosity. “He was one of those colleagues you could approach with a seemingly crazy idea that is completely outside his field of expertise and despite his very busy schedule, he responded with high praise, good advice, or constructive critique, always highly valuable,” said Professor Eugenia Kumacheva. 

“He was always encouraging, interested in our work and very supportive even though we had no direct connection professionally,” agreed Douglas Stephan: “Ian’s example inspired us to be the best we can be professionally and personally. He will be missed.” 

A Celebration of Life was be held for Ian Manners on December 12th at Sequoia Center and will be available online for those unable to attend. Details, along with further tributes from family, former students and colleagues can be found on his obituary

“We treasured our interaction with Ian and his students,” concluded Mitch Winnik. “He will be missed not only by us but by the entire Canadian and International scientific community.”