RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Belot funeral service

John's memorial service will be held at 1 pm on Thursday May 15th at the Cathedral of St. Joseph 1218 Eoff Street Wheeling, West Virginia (corner of 13th and Eoff in downtown Wheeling). For those of you not familiar with Wheeling, it is about 60 miles or an hour or so from Pittsburgh.
John's funeral service was very moving. It was heartwarming to hear how many people's lives were touched by John's kindness, energy, and creativity. The man was a first rate scientist and a free spirit, and it's just a shame that Nebraska rejects free spirits like the human body rejects alien cells.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

John Belot 1968-2014

A friend just informed me that John Belot died in hospital last night, of complications from a lung infection.

John was a friend and collaborator here at UNL. We worked together on hydrogen bonding. John was fired from UNL after an incident where he handed out fireworks in class, unfortunately at the same time the UN Ambassador was giving a speech at the Lied Center 100 yards away. The result was panic and overreaction. John was arrested, suspended, and eventually forced to resign, despite a finding he had been suffering from undiagnosed bipolar disorder, and a unanimous recommendation from our Academic Rights and Responsibility Committee that he be retained. I was away from campus on sabbatical when most of this happened, though I'm not sure there is much I could have done. Perhaps, earlier, I could have persuaded him to get help, but I doubt that would have worked.

I drafted a letter to the chancellor pleading for him to be retained, but only a very few of my colleagues were willing to sign it. I've never really felt the same about either them or this university since.

Another former colleague, Cindy Day, said it better than I did in a letter to the Lincoln Journal Star. We threw him out with the trash.