Robert M. Clegg (1945–2012)

Robert MacDonald Clegg passed away October 15, 2012, at Carle Hospital in Urbana, Illinois, from complications arising from cancer. He died surrounded by his family, and he was never in pain. He is survived by his sister Victoria L. Clegg, his wife of 43 years, Margitta Clegg, and their three sons Benjamin F., Niels T., and Robert A. Clegg. Bob was a leading expert in applying fluorescence spectroscopy to biological problems, fluorescence lifetime microscopy (FLIM), and Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) microscopy.

Bob was born on July 18, 1945, in Providence, Rhode Island. He received his doctorate in physical chemistry in 1974 from Cornell University. Professor E. L. Elson supervised his dissertation entitled “Relaxation Kinetics Applying Repetitive Pressure Perturbations.” Following graduation, Bob worked as a postdoctoral research associate in the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany. He was promoted to senior staff research associate in the Department of Molecular Biology where he developed state-of-the-art instruments to investigate the structure of nucleic acids, and to apply photo-physical approaches for clinical applications. Bob accepted a position as Professor of Physics and Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1998, where he remained for the rest of his career. Bob was an avid student of the history of science with a special interest in FRET. His colleagues considered him “a walking library of FLIM and FRET.” Bob was also a dedicated and beloved teacher, always searching for simple ways to convey complex biophysical ideas to his students. He was extremely generous with his time and intellect to the ultimate benefit of his students and colleagues.

In lieu of gifts, the family requests memorial donations be made to the American Cancer Society, Condolences may be offered at

—Prepared by Steven Vogel

December 2012 Table of Contents