It is with considerable sadness that we learned that Robin Armstrong, President of the CAP from 1990-91, passed away from heart failure on Friday, December 17th.
Robin was born in 1935 and was raised in Hespeler (now part of Cambridge) Ontario. He enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto (U of T) in the honours Math, Physics and Chemistry program. Staying at U of T, in 1960 he completed his PhD in molecular spectroscopy under Harry Welsh and then went to Oxford as a postdoctoral fellow where he took up NMR spectroscopy.
Robin returned to U of T as an Assistant professor, setting up an NMR lab. He was a great classroom lecturer with he and Jim King publishing a popular first year physics text in 1966. This textbook was adopted in many countries around the world. In 1968 Robin became the first Undergraduate Associate Chair of the department and in 1972, at the age of 37, he became Chair. He served two terms as Chair before becoming Dean of Arts and Science in 1982. He served two terms as Dean during which time he also served as President of the CAP and as vice-President of NSERC. From 1990 to 1996 Robin served as President of the University of New Brunswick and he remained there as a faculty member until his retirement in 2000. Shortly thereafter he returned to the University of Toronto as an Emeritus Professor.
Robin was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 1973 he became the 4th recipient of the CAP’s Herzberg (Early Career) Medal, and received the CAP’s gold medal for Lifetime Achievement in 1990. He mentored approximately 30 PhD students.
Robin is survived by his wife, Karen, and his two sons, Kier and Drew.
It is anticipated that a celebration of life will be organized when circumstances permit.