Described by a colleague as “a giant in the combustion community,” Bob died of cancer Nov. 17, 2022, in Berkeley, Calif.

Born May 19, 1935, in Santa Barbara, Calif., Bob attended Stanford on an ROTC scholarship, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering in 1957 and 1958. He served as a rocket test and propulsion research engineer at Edwards Air Force Base from 1958 through 1961. After receiving a Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering at Princeton in 1966, Bob became a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1988, he was named the first UC Berkeley Class of 1935 Professor of Energy, a position he held until retiring in 1991. 

While at Berkeley, Bob conducted extensive research on air-pollutant emissions and their control, and later established a consulting firm, Sawyer Associates, to advise on air-pollution control. A member of the International Combustion Institute from 1966 through 2011, Bob had visiting appointments in the U.S., Japan, and England. He served on numerous industrial and governmental advisory committees to help develop policies to reduce air pollution.

Bob is survived by his wife of 65 years, Barbara; daughters Allison and Lisa; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. 

Graduate alumni memorials are prepared by the APGA.

Graduate Class of 1966