Erich Baer, chemist, educator (b at Berlin, Ger 8 Mar 1901; d at Toronto 23 Sept 1975). He studied at University of Berlin under Hermann O.L. Fischer, with whom he worked until 1948 (from 1937 at University of Toronto). Baer became a professor in 1951 and professor emeritus in 1969. His work dealt with the synthesis of substances based on glycerol. One of such compounds became known as the Fischer-Baer ester, which plays a central role in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
To arrange atoms in molecules in the right order and have them assume the proper configuration in 3-dimensional space, Baer made use of the configuration already available in natural sugar alcohols in a simple and most elegant way. The glycerol derivatives thus obtained were the starting materials for the synthesis of a series of phospholipids, fatlike substances containing a substituted phosphate group. These are essential structural elements of the cell membrane of all living organisms.
Baer published well over 100 scientific papers and received many honours and awards. His legacy includes a generation of well-trained scientists.