Tag: Nobel Prize

Life of Professor Emeritus Robert Rosenberg celebrated in June 20 memorial service

A memorial service celebrating the life of Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and former Robert McMillen Professor of Chemistry Robert Rosenberg will be held Saturday, June 20 at 1 p.m. in the Nathan Marsh Pusey Room of the Warch Campus Center. Rosenberg died April 3 in Milwaukee at the age of 89.

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Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Robert Rosenberg, 1926-2015.

Rosenberg’s son, Charlie, will deliver a eulogy while his daughter and grandchildren will share family memories.  Alumni and colleagues will offer reminiscences and musical preludes will feature some of Rosenberg’s favorite songs.

One of Lawrence’s most distinguished teachers, Rosenberg spent 35 years on the Lawrence faculty (1956-91). His work on the physical chemistry of proteins and chemical thermodynamics was supported by grants from the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation and Research Corporation.

Well known and highly respected for being unfailingly courteous, Rosenberg encouraged his students to learn chemistry, often by designing their own experiments, gently leading and probing them to think creatively. He responded to their questions by asking more questions in turn to hone their analytical skills. His clear, patient explanations of equations describing complex physiochemical phenomena became legendary.

One of his students, Thomas Steitz, went on to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009, an event Rosenberg said at the time had him “walking on air” with pride.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia in 2013, and a son, James in 1994. He is survived by a son, Charles, Milwaukee, a daughter, Margaret (Eric) Wilde, Bronx, N.Y., and two grandchildren, Emma Wilde and Nathaniel Wilde.

The family has suggested memorial donations can be made in Rosenberg’s name to Lawrence University, the Nature Conservancy for the Fight for $15 campaign for fast food workers.

Read more about Rosenberg’s life and career.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Robert Rosenberg 1926-2015: Chemistry professor mentored Lawrence’s Nobel Prize winner

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Chemistry Professor Robert Rosenberg spent 35 years on the Lawrence faculty.

One of Lawrence’s most distinguished teachers, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and former Robert McMillen Professor of Chemistry Robert Rosenberg, died Friday, April 3 in Milwaukee. He was 89.

Rosenberg spent 35 years on the Lawrence faculty (1956-91), specializing in physical chemistry of proteins and chemical thermodynamics. His research was supported by grants from National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and Research Corporation.

He was the author of the book “Principles of Physical Chemistry,” which was published by Oxford University Press, and co-author of the third and subsequent editions of “Chemical Thermodynamics,” originally authored by one of his Ph.D program professors at Northwestern, Theodore Klotz. In retirement, he wrote “Why Ice Is Slippery” for Physics Today, which proved to be his most popular work, quoted in a New York Times article, and in the Weekly Reader, while the original article was translated into Italian and Japanese.

In conjunction with former physics professor Bruce Brackenridge, Rosenberg created the novel course “The Principles of Physics and Chemistry,” a mathematically rigorous, calculus-based introduction to both physics and chemistry, spread over all three terms, that they taught collaboratively. They also co-authored a textbook of the same title.

Rosenberg’s scholarly interests extended beyond the laboratory into the arenas of societal concerns through public seminars on nuclear disarmament and environmental issues.

Well known and highly respected for being unfailingly courteous, Rosenberg encouraged his students to learn chemistry by often designing their own experiments, gently leading and probing them to think creatively, frequently responding to their questions by asking questions in return to hone their analytical skills. His clear, patient explanations of equations describing complex physiochemical phenomena became legendary.

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2009 Nobel Prize winner Thomas Steitz (left) was a protege of long-time Lawrence chemistry professor Robert Rosenberg.

One of his students, Thomas Steitz, went on to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009, a development Rosenberg said at the time had him “walking on air” with pride.

His commitment to his students often extended well past their graduation, remaining an active mentor during the careers of many chemistry alumni. He enjoyed reconnecting with former students during Reunion Weekend. During his last two years, many former students wrote or came to visit, crediting him as a foundational influence in a number of distinguished careers.

Rosenberg was recognized for his teaching prowess in 1987 with Lawrence’s Excellent Teacher Award. In 1991, the year of his retirement, he was honored by the Sears-Roebuck Foundation with its Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award in recognition of his continued “concern for the individual student beyond the classroom, both as advisor and role model.”

Born in Hartford, Conn., Rosenberg earned his bachelor’s degree from Trinity College and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. He spent time as a research associate at Catholic University of America and taught at Harvard University Medical School and Wesleyan University before joining the Lawrence faculty in 1956.

During his tenure at Lawrence, Rosenberg spent a year as an NSF Fellow at Oxford University and served as director of the ACM program at the Argonne National Laboratory for a year. After his retirement in 1991, he spent several years as an adjunct professor of chemistry at Northwestern University, where he organized a well received symposium in honor of Professor Klotz.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia in 2013, and a son, James in 1994. He is survived by a son, Charles, Milwaukee, a daughter, Margaret (Eric) Wilde, Bronx, N.Y., and two grandchildren, Emma Wilde and Nathaniel Wilde.

A memorial service celebrating Rosenberg’s life will be held at Lawrence later this spring on a day and time to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested memorial donations can be made in Rosenberg’s name to Lawrence University, Northwestern University or the Nature Conservancy.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Nobel Prize Winner Thomas Steitz Delivers Lawrence University Commencement Address

Lawrence University graduate Thomas Steitz, whose research on the structure of ribosomes earned him the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, returns to his alma mater Sunday, June 13 as featured speaker for the college’s 161st commencement. It will be Steitz’ first visit back to his home state since being named a Nobel laureate.

Lawrence is expected to confer 310 bachelor of arts and/or music degrees to 297 seniors from 33 states and 14 countries during graduation ceremonies that begin at 10:30 a.m. on the Main Hall green.

John Dreher, Lee Claflin-Robert S. Ingraham Professor of Philosophy, delivers the address “What’s Good Today” at a baccalaureate service Saturday, June 12 at 11 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The baccalaureate service and commencement exercise are both free and open to the public.

Four retiring faculty members will be recognized at commencement. s. Robert McMillen Professor of Chemistry Jerrold Lokensgard, Professor of Biology Brad Rence Professor of French Judy Sarnecki and Associate Professor and Director of Technical Services in the library Corrine Wocelka will be awarded honorary master of arts degrees for their combined 129 years of service to Lawrence.

During commencement, President Jill Beck, Lawrence Board of Trustees Chair Harry Jansen Kraemer ’77 and senior Alicia Bones of Omaha, Neb., will join Steitz in addressing the graduates.

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Thomas Steitz

Steitz, who grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from Wauwatosa High School in 1958, was named one of three recipients of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in October and received his award in ceremonies last December in Stockholm, Sweden. He was honored for his decades-long research into the structure and function of ribosomes, which decode messenger RNA into proteins, a function central to life. An understanding of the structural basis of the function of ribosomes provides possibilities for the development of new antibiotics.

Since 1970, Steitz has taught at Yale University, where he is the Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and professor of chemistry. He also is an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

His address Sunday will be his third appearance on the Lawrence commencement stage. In addition to receiving his own bachelor’s degree with a major in chemistry in 1962, Steitz was awarded an honorary doctorate of science degree in 1981. Lawrence also recognized Steitz with its Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award in 2002.

On Friday, June 11, Lawrence will rename its 10-year-old Science Hall the Thomas A. Steitz Hall of Science in recognition of Steitz’ achievements.

Since winning the Nobel Prize, Steitz has maintained a busy travel schedule. He returned earlier this week from Cambridge University in England where he delivered a lecture to the Medical Research Council. He arrived in England from Erice, Sicily where he was teaching a class. During the past several months, he has attended conferences or delivered lectures in California, Denmark, France, Italy and Switzerland.

The Nobel Prize was just the latest in a long list of awards and honors Steitz has received during his distinguished career. He has been the recipient of the Pfizer Prize from the American Chemical Society, the Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for distinguished work in basic medical sciences and the Newcomb Cleveland Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He also was awarded Japan’s Keio Medical Science Prize in 2006, which honors researchers for outstanding and creative achievements in the fields of medicine and life sciences and the 2007 Gairdner Foundation International Award, which recognizes outstanding discoveries or contributions to medical science.

After Lawrence, Steitz earned a Ph.D. degree in molecular biology and biochemistry from Harvard University, where he worked with 1976 Nobel Prize winner William Lipscomb. Following a postdoctoral year at Harvard, he moved to the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England before joining the Yale faculty in 1970.

Steitz is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was recently elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

His wife, Joan Steitz, also is a Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale. Steitz’ younger brother, Richard, graduated from Lawrence as well, earning a bachelor’s degree with a major in mathematics and physics in 1964.

Lawrence To Honor Nobel Prize Winner with Building Renaming Ceremony on Friday

Science Hall signs have been taken down to make way for the building's new name.
Science Hall signs have been taken down to make way for the building's new name.

Thomas Steitz

The Appleton community is invited to attend a special ceremony at Lawrence University Friday, June 11 when the college’s Science Hall will be renamed Thomas A. Steitz Hall of Science in honor of 1962 Lawrence graduate and 2009 Nobel Prize winner Thomas Steitz.

The ceremony, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Science Hall atrium, will include brief remarks by Lawrence President Jill Beck and Robert McMillan Professor of Chemistry Jerry Lokensgard.  The ceremony will conclude with the unveiling of a display commemorating Steitz’s Nobel Prize.

Steitz, who will not be in attendance at Friday’s ceremony, will be the featured speaker at Lawrence University’s 161st commencement on Sunday, June 13 beginning at 10:30 a.m. on the Main Hall green.

“This is a fitting way for Lawrence to recognize one of our most distinguished graduates, by naming for Dr. Steitz the facility in which our current students are learning cutting-edge science,” Beck said. “His dedication and accomplishments serve as inspiration to all of our young, aspiring scientists. Having the building they learn and conduct research in bear his name will motivate them to consider all that is possible in their own careers.”

Last October, Steitz was named one of three recipients of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research that revealed the structure and function of ribosomes.   A few weeks later, the Lawrence University Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rename the nine-year-old Science Hall in Steitz’s honor.

A Milwaukee native and graduate of Wauwatosa High School, Steitz called the building renaming “a great honor from a university to which I owe so much.”

Steitz is the Sterling professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry and professor of chemistry at Yale University, where he has taught since 1970.