Dr. John Roberts, Professor of Chemistry Emeritus, California Institute of Technology, was the fourth recipient of the Linus Pauling Legacy Award on May 4, 2006. The award was established in 2001 and dedicated to the recognition of outstanding achievement by an individual or organization in a subject of interest to Linus Pauling (1901-1994). Previous awards went to Daisaku Ikeda, Sir Joseph Rotblat, and Dr. Matthew Meselson.
Dr. Roberts was honored "for his pioneering and creative contributions to the study of chemistry, including major breakthroughs in the scientific understanding of reaction mechanisms, fundamental cross-disciplinary applications of physical chemistry to organic chemistry, and momentous advancements in the techniques of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy; and for his decades of leadership as a voice for, and example of, uncompromising ethics and integrity in scientific research." Pauling and Roberts first met in 1947. A few years later, Roberts joined the Caltech chemistry department, where Pauling was Chairman. In 1956, Pauling said, "I think that Professor Roberts is one of the most promising, able, and original organic chemists in the country." Indeed, Roberts' contributions to organic chemistry have been described as fundamental, and he has been honored with the Priestley Medal, the National Medal of Science, and many other awards. Roberts' Legacy Award Lecture, based on some of his developmental research, was entitled, "Useful Knowledge about NMR [nuclear magnetic resonance] and MRI [magnetic resonance imaging]How They Work and How They are Used."
For more information, please see the Spring 2006 issue of The Messenger, published by OSU Libraries.