Professor John T. Yates, Jr. received his B.S. degree from Juniata College and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from M.I.T. After three years as Assistant Professor at Antioch College, he joined the National Bureau of Standards, first as a NRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow and then as a member of its scientific staff. His research in the fields of surface chemistry and physics, including both the structure and spectroscopy of surface species, the dynamics of surface processes, and the development of new methods for research in surface chemistry, kept him at the forefront of this field of science throughout his long and distinguished career.
Professor Yates joined the University of Pittsburgh in 1982 as the first R.K. Mellon Professor of Chemistry and as Founding Director of the University of Pittsburgh Surface Science Center. He established and led the Surface Science Center and mentored 40 Ph.D students and more than 100 senior researchers at Pittsburgh. He moved to the University of Virginia in 2006 as a Professor and Shannon Research Fellow; there, he established a new research program in Surface Science and became active in the new field of astrochemistry.
Professor Yates served as Associate Editor of Chemical Reviews and of ACS Langmuir and on the Advisory Boards of Chemical & Engineering News and Chemistry World. He was active as a member of the AVS Boards of Directors and Trustees and as Chair of the AVS Surface Science Division, the APS Division of Chemical Physics, and the ACS Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry. He chaired three Gordon Research Conferences.
He was the recipient of the AVS Medard Welch Award, the ACS Arthur W. Adamson Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Surface Chemistry, the ACS Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry, and an Alexander von Humboldt Senior Research Award. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1996. During his distinguished career, he co-authored more than 700 articles in the leading journals of chemistry and physics.
We mourn his passing as we celebrate his achievements.