Birth Date: 26 September 1926
Place of Birth: ŠkofjaLoka, Slovenija
Nationality: Slovenian
Occupation/Field of Study Slovenian chemist and a notable contributor to the improvement of higher education in Slovenia.


KEYWORDS: Aleksandra Kornhauser Frazer, chemistry, Slovenia, sustainable development, higher education.



Aleksandra Kornhauser Frazer is a Slovenian chemist who has been involved with shaping academia in Slovenia. She has made a remarkable impact in the field of education and chemistry, while also having an involvement in national and international organisations. Her work has included various functions for the United Nations Development Programme, UNESCO, the International Labour Organization, the World Bank and the US Environmental Protection Agency. She has also written a collection of children’s books named The mind is better than velvet on different topics about natural sciences and student textbooks on chemistry.



Aleksandre Kornhauser Frazer

Aleksandra Kornhauser Frazer was born in the small town of Škofja Loka in the former Yugoslavia in September 1926. Her father was the owner of Jelovica, a local lumber company, until the start of the Great Depression in 1929, when he lost everything and the family moved to Karlovec, Slovenia.⁵ They lived a poor life and fought hard for their survival. As a child, she was known by the name ‘Sulčkova Adi’, and during those times, she tried to earn money by selling small bottles of whey.⁵ In 1942, her family started cooperating with Yugoslav Partisans and she joined the youth movement of the National Liberation Army (NOB). After the war, she finished her primary education teacher training and started teaching soon afterwards. This was not enough to enable her to enrol at University, but she had higher aspirations. Therefore, besides teaching at a primary school, she also enrolled at a secondary school in Poljane (Ljubljana). She became interested in chemistry because of an inspiring teacher that she met while helping as an assistant with different chemistry experiments.³

In 1963, Aleksandra graduated from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology with a major in chemistry and started looking for a PhD programme. During the time of her doctoral studies, she had many different opportunities to go abroad and widen her academic horizons.She undertook part of her PhD abroad, and, as a recipient of the Fulbright scholarship, she was able to study in Switzerland, England, and also in the United States.³ She was interested in research into alkaloids and antibiotics and worked closely with the pharmaceutical industry.³ After 1965, she started studying organic chemistry at the Pedagogical Academy in Ljubljana (now known as the Faculty of Education) and served as the Dean between 1966 and 1969.

Aleksandragained international recognition when implementing her ‘Multidisciplinary synthesis of knowledge’ methods, especially as a result of the cooperative projects established between the university and industry.¹

She was a part of the Delors Commission, and thus, a member of the administrative team serving Jacques Delors, the eighth President of the European Commission. She also held a position in the International Commission on Education under UNESCO. Their main message back then was that everybody plays the role of a teacher sometimes, but most of the time we are all students.³

In 1999, she was awarded the Honda prize for her contribution to the implementation of environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes. She was part of a development process for an information system that monitors and helps control harmful industrial waste.⁴ She is (still) the only woman to have been awarded this prize.

She met her husband, paediatrician PavleKornhauser, at a very young age and after being married for many years, they felt distanced from each other and decided to live separately. They have a daughter, who is also Aleksandra’s only child. After her divorce, Aleksandra met Malcolm Frazer who became one of her colleagues, and decided to move to Oxford and marry him at age 64. They wrote scholarly books together and lived in Oxford for 20 years before moving back to Slovenia. Her second husband died in 2014.

In Slovenia, Aleksandra is known for her contribution to the natural sciences and academia in the country. She is known as a persistent, highly motivated and determined person, a great educator and chemist. She is an honorary woman in science in Slovenia, showing young women that everything they want to accomplish is possible, even when it seems difficult. Currently she is a dean at the JožefŠtefan International Postgraduate School in Ljubljana, Slovenia.



If you decide to do research and education, do not expect glory and money. Research is inherently a reward and a process and this is more important than achievements.

Interview with Aleksandra Kornhauser Frazer (, (my translation)

The mind is better than velvet.

Interview with Aleksandra Kornhauser Frazer (, (my translation)



1981: Became director of the International Centre for Chemical Studies under UNESCO in Slovenia;
1991: Awarded the title Ambassador of Science of the Republic of Slovenia;
1997: The Zois Award for lifetime achievement;
1999: Awarded international Honda award from the Honda Foundation in Japan;
2000: The Silver Order of Freedom of the Republic of Slovenia.



Frazer, J. Malcolm / Aleksandra Kornhauser (editors), (1986), Ethics and Social Responsibility in Science Education, Science and Technology Education and Future Human Needs, Volume 2, Pergamon Press, Oxford.

Kornhauser, F. Aleksandra, (1992), [Kemija] 8 [online], Državna založba Slovenije, <> (last accessed 8. Jan 2018).

Kornhauser, F. Aleksandra, (1965), Problem sekalonove in krisergonove kisline ter sorodnih barvil iz rženih rožičkov: doctoral dissertation [online], Univerza v Ljubljani, Fakultetazakemijo in kemijskotehnologijo, Ljubljana, <> (last accessed 8. Jan 2018).

Kornhauser, Aleksandra / C.N.R. Rao / D.J. Waddington Elsevier, (2013), Chemical Education in the Seventies, Pergamon Press Ltd., Oxford.

Kornhauser, Aleksandra / BojanaBoh, (2010), ”Reducing the Toxicity of Pesticides”, in Critical Reviews in Analytical Chemistry, vol 3 (4), pages 281 – 284, <> (last accessed 15. Jan 2018).

Kardoš, Dragotin / Aleksandra Kornhauser Frazer, (1997), Metodezadoseganjedodanevrednostipriprocesiranjunaravoslovno-tehničnihinformacij: master’s thesis [online], Univerza v Ljubljani, Naravoslovno tehniška fakulteta, Ljubljana, <> (last accessed 8. Jan 2018).

Kornhauser, Aleksandra, (1979), Trends in Research in Chemical Education, in European Journal of Science Education, vol. 1, issue 1, p. 21 – 50.

Kornhauser, Aleksandra, (2007), book collection: The mind is better than the velvet,
— (2007), Odprioči in napnimožgane, Ljubljana, Mladinskaknjiga.
— (2007), Ogljenisamozačevapčiče, Ljubljana, Mladinskaknjiga.
— (2007), Voda – čudežnatekočina, Ljubljana, Mladinskaknjiga.
— (2007), Pametnakuharica, Ljubljana, Mladinskaknjiga.
— (2007), Pisanisvet, Ljubljana, Mladinskaknjiga.
— (2007), Veseladruščinapriumivanju, Ljubljana, Mladinskaknjiga.



  1. Pivec, Franci, (2003), ”Dr. Aleksandra Kornhauser”, in Organizacijaznanja, vol 8, no. 3, Maribor, IZUM, <> (last accessed 10 Jan. 2018)
  2. Pivec, Franci, (2009), “Aleksandra Kornhauser Frazer – utemeljiteljicaizobraževanjazatrajnostnirazvoj”, in Journal of Innovative Business and Management, vol. 1, no 1, Maribor, DOBA, <> (last accessed 22 Jan. 2018)
  3. Kornhauser, F. Aleksandra, interviewed by Tatjana Pirc (11.12.2011), Val202 [Nedeljskigost: Aleksandra Kornhauser Frazer], <> (last accessed 10 Jan. 2018)
  4. Honda Foundation <> (last accessed 10 Jan. 2018)
  5. Zavrl, Ž. Danica, (2016), “Dan je vredentoliko, kolikorustvariš”, in Gorenjskiglas, Kranj, <–kolikor-ustvaris-> (last accessed 22 Jan. 2018)
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