The University of Chicago News Office
June 26, 1997 Press Contact: Steve Koppes
(773) 702-8366
s-koppes@uchicago.edu
 

Jeremy Burdett, 1947-1997

Jeremy Burdett, Professor and Chairman in Chemistry and Professor in the James Franck Institute at the University of Chicago, died Monday, June 23, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Burdett was a resident of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He was 49.

Burdett was a highly regarded inorganic chemist who studied the electronic structure and properties of solids, including high-temperature superconductors. His work provided a fundamental understanding of the topological factors that determine the structure of crystals. A consistent theme throughout his research was the interplay between localized chemical bonds and delocalized electron bands, a key aspect of the insulator-conductor transition in inorganic materials.

“Jeremy showed an extraordinary dedication to all facets of chemistry,” said David Oxtoby, Dean of the Physical Sciences Division at Chicago, “discovering elegant new principles through research and teaching his subject to both specialists and non-specialists in lectures and books.”

Burdett was a dedicated teacher who strove to explain abstract concepts, such as chemical structure and bonding, using everyday life experiences. In 1993 he received the University of Chicago’s Amoco Foundation Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Teaching.

Burdett was born in London on July 1, 1947, and studied at the University of Cambridge (Magdalene College), where he received his B.A. in 1968. He received his M.S. in 1970 from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. from Cambridge in 1972. From 1972 to 1978 he was a senior research officer at the University of Newcastle-On-Tyne, with a one-year sabbatical at Cornell University in 1977.

In 1978 Burdett joined the University of Chicago faculty. From 1987 to 1991, he served as Master of the Physical Sciences Collegiate Division and as Associate Dean of the Physical Sciences Division and of the College. He had been Chairman of the Chemistry Department since 1992.

Professional recognition for his research included the Meldola Medal (1977) from the Royal Institute of Chemistry and the Tilden Medal (1995) from the Royal Society of Chemistry. He was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow from 1979 to 1981, a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar from 1979 to 1984, and he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1991.

He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Cambridge in 1991.

Burdett is the author of more than 200 research publications and five books, including Chemical Bonding in Solids (Oxford, 1995).

He is survived by his wife, Ingrid Jackson; two sons, Rufus, of Denver, and Harry, of Detroit; his mother, Joan, of North Baddesley, England; and a brother, Nigel, of Marlborough, England.

Donations in his memory can be made to Magdalene College, Cambridge, or to the American Friends of Cambridge University.

 

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