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Robert N. Clayton

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Robert Norman Clayton FRS (March 20, 1930 – December 30, 2017) was a Canadian-American chemist and academic. He was the Enrico Fermi Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of Chicago. Clayton studied cosmochemistry and held a joint appointment in the university's geophysical sciences department. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was named a fellow of several academic societies, including the Royal Society.


Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Clayton graduated from Queen's University with undergraduate and master's degrees. He completed a Ph.D. in 1955 at the California Institute of Technology, where he was mentored by geochemist Samuel Epstein. His first academic appointment was at Penn State University. In 1958, he joined the chemistry faculty at the University of Chicago, where he took over the laboratory of Nobel Prize winner Harold Urey. From 1961 to his retirement in 2001, he held joint appointments in the chemistry and geophysical sciences departments. He directed the Enrico Fermi Institute at the university from 1998 to 2001.[1]

Honours and awards

In 1981, he received the V. M. Goldschmidt Award from the Geochemical Society.[2] The next year, the Meteoritical Society awarded him its Leonard Medal.[3] Clayton won the Elliott Cresson Medal from the Franklin Institute in 1985.[4] He was the 1987 recipient of the William Bowie Medal from the American Geophysical Union.[5] Clayton became a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1996 and won the academy's J. Lawrence Smith Medal in 2009.[6][7] Clayton has been named a fellow of the Royal Society of London (1981) and the Royal Society of Canada.[1] He won the National Medal of Science in 2004.[8]

On December 30, 2017, Clayton died his sleep at his home in Indiana from complications of Parkinson's disease.[9]


  1. ^ a b Humayun, Munir; O'Neil, James R. (September 2003). "A Special Issue dedicated to Robert N. Clayton". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 67 (17): 3097–3099. Bibcode:2003GeCoA..67.3097H. doi:10.1016/S0016-7037(03)00381-8. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  2. ^ "V.M. Goldschmidt Award". Geochemical Society. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  3. ^ "Leonard Medalists". Meteoritical Society. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  4. ^ "Robert N. Clayton". Franklin Institute. 2014-01-15. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  5. ^ Goldsmith, Julian R.; Clayton, Robert N. (1987). "1987 William Bowie Medal to Robert N. Clayton". Eos. 68 (27): 624. Bibcode:1987EOSTr..68..624G. doi:10.1029/EO068i027p00624-01.
  6. ^ Durso, Thomas (May 27, 1996). "National Academy of Sciences' Class of 1996 sets new record". The Scientist. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  7. ^ "J. Lawrence Smith Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  8. ^ "Robert N. Clayton". National Science and Technology Medals Foundation. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  9. ^ "Robert N. Clayton, 'one of the giants' of cosmochemistry, 1930-2017". 11 January 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
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Robert N. Clayton
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