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.

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.


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  2. I had the opportunity to work under John for 2 years. He was a smart and interesting man, and I will greatly miss him. He taught me about chemistry and life.

  3. I only knew john from his family in yorkville ohio. He was a good guy. I last saw him at the funeral of another friend this past January. I will miss him

  4. John was a man that was fiercely loyal to his friends and coworkers. He never liked seeing anyone in need and often helped those who were down on their luck. His knowledge and contributions to the science world were amazing. He took adversity and grew from it. He spoke often of those that believed in him and gave him a second chance.... for that I got a chance to know and love him for the man he was. Thanks to everyone that was a friend to John.....if he didn't get a chance to tell you personally, I heard it from stories he'd tell!

  5. When I told John of Dr. Belot's passing, he had this to say: "I remember when we were studying for an inorganic cume on a Saturday in the 6th floor conference room and had no idea what we were doing. He came in and spent like 30 minutes going through all the basics with us. It really helped and I (surpringly) passed. That's the thing I remember the most about him. He didn't have to help us, but he took the time and did and it meant a lot to me, at least."

    Just thought I would share. Sorry for the loss.