Robert Laudise

Robert Laudise – A Pioneer in Growing Quartz Crystals 1931-1998

Bob Laudise, Sawyer Award Winner, Dies at Age 67 Murray Hill, N.J. (Aug. 21, 1998) — Robert A. Laudise, Adjunct Chemical Director at Bell Labs, died yesterday Thursday, Aug. 20 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He was 67.

Dr. Laudise, of Berkeley Heights, N.J., joined Bell Labs in 1956 and served as Materials Research Director, Physical and Inorganic Chemistry Research Director, and Materials and Processing Director. Groups he lead transferred optical-fiber technology to production and prepared the first lithium-niobate and yttrium-aluminum garnet laser crystals.

His research interests included solid-state chemistry, materials science and materials conservation, and crystal growth. Most commercial processes for preparing crystalline quartz used worldwide are based on his studies of hydrothermal crystallization.

His work was widely recognized through his election to membership in the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering. He continued his personal research throughout his career, most recently in the area of crystallization of organic materials.

“Bob devoted his life to science and Bell Labs,” said William F. Brinkman, Vice President of Bell Labs Physical Sciences and Engineering Research division. “He was always enthusiastic about doing new things – with a sense of humor that never failed. He also had a profound commitment to industrial ecology and helped to create corporate grants at Lucent and at AT&T that engaged researchers around the world in industrial-ecology research.” Dr. Laudise was also adjunct professor of materials science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and adjunct professor of ceramics at Rutgers University. He received numerous prizes and awards including the American Chemical Society Materials Chemistry Prize, the International Crystal Growth Prize, the Orton Award of the American Ceramic Society, the Sawyer Prize, and in 1989 the International Organization for Crystal Growth designated its prize for experimental crystal growth the Laudise Prize.

Dr. Laudise served on numerous national advisory committees including the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the President’s Science Advisory Committee. He was editor of the Journal of Materials Research and was elected to the American Philosophical Society.

He received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., in 1952 and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from MIT in 1956. Dr. Laudise was a lector and a minister of communion at Little Flower Church in Berkeley Heights, and president of the Twin Lakes Property Owners Association in Shohola, Penn.

He is survived by his wife Joyce, his sons Thomas, of Maplewood, N.J., John, of Berkeley Heights, N.J., and Edward of Naples, Florida, his daughter Mary, of Basking Ridge, N.J., and his daughter Margaret and her sons Matthew and Robert Warden, of Wyncote, Penn. Funeral arrangements are being made by Paul Ippolito BerkeleyMemorial Funeral Home, Berkeley Heights. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Dr. Laudise’s name to Immokalee Friendship House, a shelter for homeless people in Immokalee, Florida, or to other charities.