A graduate of four universities, Bob studied mathematics at Hartwick College (B.S., 1950), physics at Colorado State University (M.S., 1952), physics and mineralogy at Penn State (Ph.D., 1956), and crystallography at Cambridge University (Ph.D., 1960). Prior to joining the Penn State faculty in 1966, he was an ICI fellow at the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University and taught in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for 10 years.
At Penn State, Bob taught courses on crystal physics, crystal chemistry, electroceramics, mineralogy, gem minerals, biomaterials, x-ray diffraction, and crystal structure analysis. Widely known for his enthusiastic lectures and colorful illustrations, Bob was honored with the Outstanding Educator Award of the Ceramic Education Council and the Wilson Teaching Prize of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. During his career, he delivered the Dow lectures at Northwestern University, the Wolff Lecture at MIT, the McMahon Lecture at Alfred University, the Pond lectures at Johns Hopkins, the Maddin Lecture at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Byron Short Lecture at the University of Texas. After retirement Bob taught for two years at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Professor Newnham was a master teacher. It is easy to see why when you read any of his lucid books. He had a gift for taking difficult concepts and explaining them simply without introducing error.
Professor Newnham was active in several professional societies, serving as editor of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society, secretary of the Materials Research Society, president of the American Crystallographic Association, and distinguished lecturer for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Among his many awards was the Jeppson Medal, the E. C. Henry Award, the Bleininger Award, the David Kingery Award of the American Ceramic Society, the third Millennium Medal and Ultrasonics Achievement Award of the IEEE, the Centennial Award of the Japan Ceramics Society, the