Robert C. O'Handley, 1942-2013

March 10, 2013

We are saddened to announce the death of Dr. Robert C. O'Handley, our friend and colleague. In 1981, Bob came to MIT as a Research Scientist working with Prof. Nick Grant on applications of metallic glasses. Prior to coming to MIT, he was NRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Michelson Laboratory in China Lake, CA, (1971–74), then worked for four years at Allied Chemical Corporation on their amorphous metals development program, and then moved to IBM’s Watson Lab for a three-year position as Staff Scientist. Bob’s primary research focus at MIT was ferromagnetism and applications of ferromagnetic materials. In addition to ferromagnetic metallic glasses, his work focused on surface and thin-film magnetism, magnetic thin-film devices, active materials, and applications of materials in energy absorption and energy harvesting. Bob’s research projects engaged an impressive number of faculty colleagues as collaborators, including Nick Grant, Keith Johnson, Gretchen Kalonji, Manny Oiveria, Carl Thompson, Sam Allen, Caroline Ross, Yet Chiang, David Paul, Steve Hall, and Jagadeesh Moodera. 

All of Bob’s degrees are in physics: After receiving a B.A. from Marist College (1965), he taught for two years as a Marist Brother in a New York City high school and then changed his career plan, completing the M.S. and Ph.D. at the Polytechnic University (formerly the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn).  Bob’s publications include nearly 200 articles in refereed journals, 20 patents, scores of conference proceedings, invited lectures, and review articles. He is the author of the textbook Modern Magnetic Materials: Principles and Applications (Wiley, 1999), an outgrowth of the graduate class, 3.45 Magnetic Materials, that Bob developed and taught alternate years since 1990. He contributed to DMSE’s educational programs through classroom and laboratory teaching and research supervision of undergraduate and graduate students. Many visitors, including three Fulbright Scholars, were hosted in Bob’s laboratory over the years. Bob retired in 2008, at which time he continued an active research role at Ferro Solutions, a wireless power transfer, sensors, and energy harvester company he co-founded in 2002, but was able to dedicate his energy to his family and to studying classical piano.

We send our sympathies to his wife Carol, his three children and their spouses, and his seven grandchildren. 

The funeral arrangements are:

Wake: Wednesday, March 13 Conte Funeral Home Florence St. Andover Ma. 4-8 PM
Funeral Mass:  Thursday, March 14 St. Augustine Church Essex St. Andover Ma. 10:30AM

If you would like to make an expression of sympathy, please contact DMSE Headquarters. In lieu of flowers, donations to Lazarus House 412 Hampshire Street Lawrence, MA 01841 or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital 501 St Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105, would be appreciated.  

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