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George W. Roberts

by Susan J. Ainsworth
May 24, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 21

George W. Roberts, 71, a professor emeritus of chemical and biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State University, died on April 5, after a short illness.

Roberts received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University in 1961 and a doctorate in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965.

He then worked at Rohm and Haas, Washington University in St. Louis, Engelhard Minerals & Chemicals, and Air Products & Chemicals. In 1989, he joined NC State’s department of chemical engineering as a professor and department head, retiring in 2006. He obtained sizable grants there for recruitment and development, graduate education and facilities improvement, and research on alternative fuels.

He also helped to establish the $37 million National Science Foundation Science & Technology Center for Environmentally Responsible Solvents & Processes at NC State in 1999. He led research initiatives focused on the continuous polymerization of monomers in supercritical fluids.

Roberts is listed as coinventor on 19 U.S. patents, author or coauthor on more than 65 technical papers, and author of a textbook, “Chemical Reactions and Chemical Reactors.”

A fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Roberts received its national Outstanding Student Chapter Adviser Award. He also received the NC State Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award, the Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award, the Ralph R. Teetor Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers, and the Distinguished Faculty Award from Washington University. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1966.

Roberts is survived by his wife, Mary; his daughter, Claire Ruliffson; his son, William; and five grandchildren.


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