Early ... Intro Picture

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John D. Roberts

Memory of the titans of any given area ... tends to fade rapidly from generation to generation.
J.D. Roberts, The Right Place at the Right Time. p. 22.

Roberts in 1922 John D. Roberts was born in 1918, starting his career in 1922 as observed at left, this being 5 years before Heitler and London came out with their famous QC paper in 1927! As seen at right he continued research in 1948 (dipole moments - an important topic around then) with the help of UCLA (B.A. 1941, Ph.D.in 1944), delayed by activities due to WW 2.
He became Prof. at MIT and then Prof. at Caltech where he is still active. His work is centered on mechanisms of organic reactions.
Roberts in 1948
Roberts in 1968 Roberts in 1989

Roberts in 2001


Faculty page of J.D. Roberts

Books by J.D. Roberts:

Roberts, J.D. : Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Mc-Graw-Hill, New York, 1959.

Roberts, J.D. : Notes on Molecular Orbital Calculations. W. A. Benjamin, New York, 1961.

Roberts, J.D. : An Introduction to the Analysis of Spin-Spin Splittings in High Resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectra. W. A. Benjamin, New York, 1961.

Roberts, J.D., Caserio, M. : Basic Principles of Organic Chemistry. W. A. Benjamin, New York, 1977.

Roberts, J.D. : At the Right Place at the Right Time. ACS-Books, Amer. Chem. Soc., 1990.

Roberts, J.D. : ABC's of FT-NMR. University Science Books, 2000.

Something that fits into the present context of Early Ideas ... is taken from

At the Right Place at the Right Time.

It is Roberts' very vivid description of the going-ons at the time when Huckel (Hückel) theory became known and used. Young chemists today might want to pay particular attention to Roberts' fight with the then famous book of Eyring, Walter and Kimball : Quantum Chemistry.

Please excuse the 'reduced quality only' section of the following. For more - and better print - see At the Right Place at the Right Time.

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                              Roberts in 1962

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And this is how Roberts introduced his

Notes on Molecular Orbital Calculations :



Another characteristic of Roberts' work was the early use of NMR, the concept of spin-spin coupling:

And then there were, around 1960, Roberts' two books on NMR. At the time of this writing (12/2001) they are still 'required reading' in the section 'chemistry and spectroscopy' at a near-by university. Enduring 40 years, they are still of good didactic value - rebound several times! In Robert's autobiography I found the following nice picture of a Varian Associates NMR oldie, formerly wide-spread (nearly universal) and famous :

Varian 40MHz page 155

One of the joys of being a professor is when an exceptional student comes along and wants to work with you.
J.D. Roberts, The Right Place at the Right Time. p. 63.

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Copyright © Dec. 3. 2001 by U. Anders, PhD.
e-mail Udo Anders : udo39@t-online.de

Last updated : Apr. 1, 2002 - 16:55 CET