R. Linn Belford | University of Illinois Archives

Name: R. Linn Belford

Historical Note:

Rue Linn Belford (1931-2015) was instructor (1955-57); assistant professor (1957-63); associate professor (1963-81); and professor (1981-2005) of chemistry as well as director of the Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Research Center (1985-2010) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He was known as "one of the world's leading experts in the application of EPR spectroscopy to problems in physical, biophysical, and inorganic chemistry" (Dept. of Chemistry).

Belford was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on December 13, 1931. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from UI (1953), publishing four papers in the Journal of the American Chemical Society during his time as an undergraduate student. At the University of California, Berkley, he worked with Melvin Calvin, a future Nobel Laureate, earning his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1955 and beginning "his lifelong studies of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR)" (Dept. of Chemistry). In 1955, Belford was hired at UIUC where he would remain for the entirety of his career. He published over 150 research papers as well as coauthored the book Spectroscopy and Photochemistry of Uranyl Compounds (1964) with UIUC Professor Eugene Rabinowitch. His research explored the use of special electronic and EPR spectroscopic techniques "to characterize transition metal ions, radicals, biomolecules, and catalytic surfaces" (Dept. of Chemistry). He also contributed to new understandings of shock-tube methods in application to high-temperature fast reactions, conducting research on this area during the 1960s and 1970s. As Director of the EPR Research Center (1985-2010), he oversaw the creation of the first (2-4 GHz) S-band-pulsed EPR and spearheaded the development of computer simulations of complex spectra. His important contributions were recognized in his lifetime with John R. Kuebler Award from Alpha Chi Sigma (1988) and the Gold Special Medal for Distinguished Service from the International EPR Society (2002). He retired from his professorship in 2005, after 50 years of teaching.

In 1954, Belford married Geneva Grosz (d. 2014), a mathematician and later Professor of Computer Science at UIUC, who was his frequent collaborator. He died on August 14, 2015, in Mahomet, Illinois.


"In Memoriam: Professor R. Linn Belford," Department of Chemistry, accessed May 15, 2020, https://chemistry.illinois.edu/news/2015-08-14/memoriam-professor-r-linn-belford.

"R. Linn Belford," News Gazette, August 16, 2015, accessed May 15, 2020, https://www.news-gazette.com/obituaries/r-linn-belford/article_11a92946-a5e3-5d82-81eb-200ebbad2052.html.

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