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Robert Bruno Alexander Naumann

by Susan J. Ainsworth
January 26, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 4

Robert Bruno Alexander Naumann, 85, a professor of chemistry and physics emeritus at Princeton University, died of Parkinson’s disease on Dec. 10, 2014, in Hanover, N.H.

Born in Dresden, Germany, Naumann earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1949 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton in 1953.

He then joined the faculty at Princeton, where he remained for 39 years. Naumann’s research, which was focused on nuclear chemistry and spectroscopy, led to the discovery of 21 radioactive isotopes and 12 nuclear isomers.

Naumann spent his summer breaks conducting research at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. During sabbatical-year leaves, he conducted research in Europe, including at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva, the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and the Technical University of Munich.

Twice, Naumann received an Alexander von Humboldt Senior U.S. Scientist Award. He was a member and fellow of many U.S. scientific societies and an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1949.

In 1992, Naumann retired to Norwich, Vt., serving as an adjunct professor of chemistry, physics, and astronomy at Dartmouth College. He enjoyed traveling the world.

Naumann is survived by his wife, Marina, whom he married in 1961; a daughter, Kristin; a son, Andrew; and four grandchildren.

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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