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Robert Cort Haddon
In Memoriam

Robert Cort Haddon

Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

UC Riverside

Robert Cort Haddon, Distinguished Professor with appointments in the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Riverside, passed away April 21, 2016.

Robert was born in Tasmania, Australia. He moved to the United States to earn a doctoral degree in Organic Chemistry at The Pennsylvania State University, which he completed in 1971. He previously earned a B.Sc. degree with honors in Chemistry from Melbourne University, Australia (1966).

After completing his Ph.D. and a Postdoctoral Research appointment at the University of Texas at Austin, Robert was a Queen Elizabeth II Fellow at the Australian National University, and in 1976 he joined Bell Laboratories, which later became AT&T and Lucent Technologies. He ultimately became a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff (1976-97). While at Bell Labs, he discovered superconductivity in alkali-metal-doped carbon-60. He went on to become world-renowned for important research in carbon nanotubes. Robert was the recipient of many significant international honors, most significantly the James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials in 2008 for the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity in non-oxide systems. This prize from the American Physical Society recognizes outstanding achievement in the science and application of new materials.

Robert joined the University of Kentucky as a Professor of Chemistry and Physics in 1997, and he was Director of a National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center in Advanced Carbon Materials from 1998 to 2000. He co-founded CarboLex, a company that produces single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), and in 1998 he founded Carbon Solutions, a company that is focused on the chemical processing of SWNTs.

Robert joined UCR in 2000 to become Director of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE). In this role, he oversaw the development of two clean room laboratories at UCR, and he was central to the recruitment and development of numerous young faculty members in the sciences and engineering. His work in CNSE set the stage for UCR’s establishment of a highly successful Materials Science and Engineering degree program at UCR, which involves dozens of faculty members from departments in the Bourns College of Engineering and the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

Robert’s other professional service included working on the advisory boards of the journals Advanced Materials, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Chemical Physics Letters, Chemistry of Materials, Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals, Fullerenes, and Nanotubes and Carbon Nanostructures.

Robert is survived by his wife, Dr. Elena B. Haddon, Professional Researcher in Chemistry department at UCR, and two daughters.

This memorial was prepared by Reza Abbaschian, Professor in the Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE), with additional information provided by Mitch Boretz, Angela Meluski, and colleagues in BCOE. More information can be found in the archives of the UCR Today website (