Department of Chemistry

In Memoriam – Robert Bau, 1944-2008
Donate to The Robert Bau Memorial Fund

Professor Robert Bau passed away on December 28, 2008, in the early evening. He had suffered a series of medical problems, and he passed peacefully, attended by family members. At his wish, Bob's remains will be cremated and a memorial service held for him.

Professor Bau was an esteemed faculty member of the Chemistry Department for nearly 40 years. He was a distinguished researcher in the field of x-ray crystallography and neutron diffraction. Bob was the recipient of numerous awards, which include Fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1982), the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship (1974-76); the Alexander van Humboldt Foundation U.S. Senior Scientist Award (1985); and an NIH Research Career Development Award (1975-80). He was president of the American Crystallographic Association (2006). Bob was also an inspiring, dedicated, and popular teacher of chemistry. USC recognized his achievements in research and teaching by giving him the Associate Awards for Excellence in Research (1979) and Excellence in Teaching (1974).

Professor Bau is survived by his wife, Margaret Churchill; three children from his first marriage, daughter, Christina; sons, Alexander and Philip, of Los Angeles; and his Mother, Maria Lourdes Bau of Hong Kong.

Bob's untimely passing is a great loss to all of us: his family his students, and his many friends and colleagues in the department, the university, and the scientific community. Bob touched so many people and we have all lost a great friend and colleague.

The Chemistry Department would like to celebrate and honor Bob's life and has established this website as a tribute to him. We began by posting messages and a few pictures and would like to invite you to send your message, and especially photos, in honor of Bob Bau. Please send us your pictures or submit them directly on our web site.

Funeral Mass, January 17, 2009

Professor Bau's funeral mass will be celebrated on Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 11:30 a.m. at Holy Cross Cemetery, 5835 W. Slauson Ave., Culver City, CA 90230 at the Risen Christ Chapel.

Symposium and Memorial, March 19, 2009

A special tribute for Prof. Bau is planned at USC for March 19, 2009 during the time of the previously scheduled symposium in his honor. Former students and postdoctoral research associates of Bau’s group will present research seminars and a dinner hosted by the Department of Chemistry and the Loker Research Institute will be held at Town and Gown. For more details about the Symposium, visit


At the request of his wife, Margaret, in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to "The Robert Bau Memorial Fund" at the Department of Chemistry, University of Southern California.

Published obituaries and tributes


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