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John D. Roberts Biography,Career and Awards

John D. Roberts Biography

John Dombrowski Roberts was an American chemist born on June 8, 1918 . He made contributions to the integration of physical chemistry, spectroscopy, and organic chemistry for the understanding of chemical reaction rates. Another characteristic of Roberts’ work was the early use of NMR, the concept of spin-spin coupling. 

John D. Roberts Career

Roberts received both a B.A. in 1941 and Ph.D. in 1944 from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has held several positions at the California Institute of Technology, including Division Chairman of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from 1963–68, Dean of the Faculty and Provost from 1980–83 and Institute Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus in the year 1988 in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. He is credited with bringing the first female graduate student, Dorothy Semenow, to Caltech when he moved from MIT. He was a consultant for DuPont Central Research (1950-2008) and for Oak Ridge. He published his autobiography in 1990, The Right Place at the Right Time. Roberts died on October 29, 2016 at the age of 98 from a stroke.

John D. Roberts Awards

In 1952, Roberts was elected as a  Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . He was elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1956 at 38 years old. In the year 1978, he was elected a Fellow of The Explorers Club. He was awarded the Priestley Medal in 1987, the National Medal of Science in 1990, the Glenn T. Seaborg Medal in 1991, the NAS Award in Chemical Sciences in 1999, the Nakanishi Prize in 2001, the NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society in 2009, the Linus Pauling Legacy Award in 2006 and the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal in 2013. He has received honorary degrees from the University of Munich in 1962, Temple University in 1964 and the University of Notre Dame. In 1998 he was named by Chemical & Engineering News as one of the 75 most influential chemists in the last 75 years.

John D. Roberts Photo

John D. Roberts Photo


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