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Robert Northrop

Robert Northrop Obituary
Robert B. Northrop, Ph.D.
Robert B. Northrop, Ph.D. died abruptly Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at eighty-four years of age, and took his unique view of the world and its marvels with him. His mother was an artist, his father, a doctor who practiced in Norwalk, CT. Robert grew up in Westport, CT, with his parents' scholarship and talent as his background. Earning his BS in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1956, he came to the University of Connecticut at Storrs to continue his education. When he finished his MS in EE in 1958, he began teaching, and discovered how much he enjoyed it. A project he was invited to complete for a physiologist at the University led him to begin Ph.D. studies in Comparative Neurophysiology. At this time, he developed an electrical method to direct migrating fish, and to collect them for census.
He married Adelaide, his wife of fifty-eight years, while a graduate student. He completed his degree as a Cell Biology Fellow shortly before the birth of his first child in 1963, and was appointed a professor in Engineering. His continuing curiosity and research led him to cofound one of the first academic programs in biomedical engineering in the country. A brilliant researcher, he developed innovative ways to diagnose or treat such diseases as cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and AIDS. His goal, to improve non-invasive medical diagnostics, led him to develop a mathematical model of the immune system which accurately predicted the effectiveness of differing treatments for AIDS. He studied a way to determine blood sugar levels in diabetics using polarized light reflected from the eye. His sabbatical leaves broadened his and his family's knowledge of the world at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in northern England, and at Texas Tech in the high plains of Texas. After he retired in 1997, he continued teaching as an adjunct while codifying his huge body of knowledge into fifteen textbooks now used all over the world. He was completing another when he died.
Dr. Northrop is survived by his wife, three daughters, and a sister. For information about the memorial, please contact his daughter, Victoria Northrop, at 860-465-9044.
Published in Westport News on July 26, 2019
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