Our dearest friend, Professor Robert J. Le Roy, passed away on Friday, August 10, 2018, at age 74. He was and will always be our mentor of both academia and life.
Born on Sept. 30, 1943 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Bob received his B. Sc. in Mathematics and Chemistry in 1965, followed by an M.Sc. in Chemistry in 1967, both from University of Toronto. Then he moved to the University of Wisconsin in Madison to work with Professor R. B. Bernstein, and obtained his Ph. D. degree in 1970. Then he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto with Professor J. van Kranendonk. After that, he joined the University of Waterloo as Assistant Professor in 1972, and became Associate Professor in 1976 and Full Professor in 1982. In 2011, he was awarded the title of University Professor at the University of Waterloo. After his formal retirement in 2012, he kept working actively in the field of theoretical chemical physics.
Bob was one of the best-known theoretical chemists in the world for his great contributions to the basic methodology in this field, especially the spectroscopy and dynamics of small molecules and of van der Waals complexes. He was the author of over 150 peer-reviewed papers, most of which focused upon the development of models and methods. His FORTRAN programs have served as benchmarks in the scientific community for many years. He is especially known for program codes that are very robust and efficient.
In addition to his scientific contributions, he was also a fantastic educator. He supervised a number of great scientists all over the world, some of who have become professors in various universities. He was one of the most welcoming professors at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Waterloo.
Hui Li, the principal investigator of our research group, worked closely with Bob from 2005 to 2010 as a postdoctoral fellow. Bob and Hui did a lot of interesting work in the field of intermolecular forces and the dynamics of small complexes and clusters. Bob's attitude to science and life impacted Hui a lot, and his special way of investigating a simple system triggered his younger colleagues' scientific passion. He looked for the real physical reason that causes a phenomenon in a system and never stopped at an approximation that may have been accepted by the majority of the community, for this reason his works were usually the one of the most accurate of the day. This attitude will always be the belief in our research group. Hui's students were also well influenced by him. Due to his poor health, most of them could only receive help from him via email. Xiao-Long Zhang and Yu Zhai fortunately met Bob in person in 2015 and 2016 and learned a lot about science, technology and life directly from him. Bob's course notes A Spectroscopy Primer, is now used as one of the most important reading materials when new students join our group. It is regrettable that he was unable to visit our group because his health was too poor to allow him to make such a long journey. However, his kindness, humor and curiosity were the best presents we could receive from the world.
Now Bob has left us. All members of Hui Li groups feel very sorry for the huge loss. We are here in China, remembering him together with his family as his academic children.‹-- Back to Hui Li group homepage