D.Tolopko 100th anniversary

November 7, 2012 is 100 years of the birth of the great chemical engineer, professor Dmytro Kostiantynovych Tolopko.




Dmytro Tolopko was born on November 7 1912 in the family of village blacksmith in the village of Pidyarkiv of that time Bibrka district of Lviv region. He died on October 28 1990 and is buried in Lviv at Lychakiv cemetery.

In 1939 he graduated Lviv Polytechnic, qualified as a chemical engineer and began his teaching and scientific activity as an assistant of Organic chemistry department at Lviv Polytechnic.

In time of German occupation activity of Polytechnic was terminated, and the military hospital was placed in its buildings. In those days Dmytro Tolopko worked as a chemical engineer, as a teacher of chemistry at professional chemical school and as an assistant at technical courses. In 1944, after entry of Soviet troops in Lviv, activity of Polytechnic was resumed and Dmytro Tolopko obtained the position of assistant of Organic chemistry department. He defended his PhD thesis “Synthesis and properties of tertiary cumene hydroperoxide” in 1955 at Kyiv University.

The scope of Dmytro Tolopko’s scientific interests includes oxidation processes, synthesis of peroxide initiators, liquid-phase auto-oxidation of hydrocarbons, in particular cumene and diphenyl,  investigation of listed processes kinetics and isolation of intermediate products – hydroperoxides, development of methods of acrylate monomers synthesis etc.

In 1958 he headed one of scientific groups of the first at Lviv Polytechnic Research laboratory of new materials. In 1962 he was appointed an associate professor. In 1965 he organized department of technology of basic organic and petrochemical synthesis (ТBОPS) and was its head for 18 years (until 1983).

“Study of methods of acrylate monomers synthesis” was defined by D.K. Tolopko to be the main research area of newly-created department. To develop this subject area, there were formed the research groups dealing with:

  • – development of preparation methods of new catalysts of olefins heterogeneous catalytic oxidation;
  • – homogeneous catalytic oxidation of organic substances with oxygen and peroxides to obtain acids and epoxides;
  • – synthesis of acrylic acids derivatives: acid chlorides, esters, amides;
  • – development of methods of propanesultone and  ?-propyolactone synthesis.

Whole constellation of gifted scientists and chemical engineers was trained in these research groups.

In 1972 Dmytro Tolopko defended his doctoral thesis “Investigation of acrylate monomers” at Lviv Polytechnic Institute, and in 1973 he was appointed a professor. The research results obtained by prof. D.K. Tolopko and his school are embodied in 11 invention certificates. He has about 150 scientific works published.

The unique professor’s ability to unmistakably define perspective research directions, to find out and attract gifted youth to scientific work, based on his extensive knowledge and great erudition, should also be noted. In 1967 his first postgraduate Yevhen Mokryy defended his PhD thesis, and hereinafter one-two PhD thesis are defended at TBOPS department every year. Twenty nine PhD theses were performed and defended under his direct guidance. From 1983 till 1990 Dmytro Tolopko was professor of ТОPS department. He was one of few professors, who works in laboratory and personally carried out experiments almost until his death. At all times prof. D.K. Tolopko delivered lectures only in Ukrainian, despite he spoke Polish, German and Russian fluently, knew Latin, read and worked up English scientific literature easily.

There are 2 corresponding members of NAS of Ukraine, 20 doctors of science, 150 PhDs among the graduates of ТОPS department. For years 1962-1983 the department headed by prof. D.Tolopko graduated more than 1000 specialists in technology of basic organic and petrochemical synthesis, as well as in synthetic rubber technology, which successfully work all over the world. All of them cherish fond memories of famous scientist, teacher and adviser – professor Dmytro Tolopko.

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