September 2, 1930–August 20, 1998
BY DONALD MURPHY
ROBERT A. LAUDISE GAINED his initial fame as a scientist and engineer by developing a manufacturable process for the growth of quartz single crystals and following the process through to industrial production. The passion he showed in that early work continued and broadened throughout his professional career and was evident in his relationship with his family, his colleagues, and the entire scientific community. His goal was to make the world better for posterity. Electronic and communications technology today is at a level unimaginable in Bob’s youth, and much of that technology resulted from the science he did himself or championed as a Bell Labs manager and as a leader in the scientific community.
Bob was born and raised in the small town of Amsterdam, New York, the only child of parents who were both teachers in the public schools.1 His parents encouraged his intellectual pursuits and as a child he was a voracious reader of all subjects. His broad knowledge and appreciation of a wide variety of topics continued throughout his life, but his future was cast when he received a chemistry set and his father built a “lab” in the basement for him at age 10. I did not know Bob as a child, but I am sure he was an egghead (the “nerd” of that era) and proud of it. Even as a youngster he