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Joseph G. Gordon II

by Susan J. Ainsworth
January 27, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 4

Joseph G. Gordon II, 67, an Applied Materials executive, died on Sept. 13, 2013, in Morgan Hill, Calif.

Born in Nashville, Gordon earned a B.A. in chemistry and physics cum laude from Harvard University in 1966 and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970.

Gordon accepted a position as an assistant professor of chemistry at California Institute of Technology. In 1975, he joined the Research Division of IBM in San Jose, Calif., where he remained for 33 years.

After retiring from IBM in 2009, he joined Applied Materials as a senior director for advanced technology. He rose to the position of chief technology officer for energy at the company, a title he held at the time of his death.

Gordon is credited with 12 patents and numerous journal articles for his work in thin films and batteries.

He was a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Electrochemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers, the Society for Analytical Chemistry, and ACS, which he joined in 1968.

He will be remembered for his intellect and gentility, his passion for his work, and his genuine concern for others.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth, whom he married in 1972; son, Perry; daughter-in-law, Alyshia; and grandson, Grayson.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.


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