In Memoriam: Charles B. Harris

March 10, 2020

Charles B. Harris

Charles Harris in his lab early in his career at UC Berkeley

March 10, 2020
Berkeley, CA

It is with tremendous sadness that I write to share the news that Charles Harris, respected colleague and dedicated champion of the College, passed away at his home this morning; he was 79 years old.
Charles was born in New York in 1940 but spent most of his youth in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a suburb just outside of Detroit. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1963 and his Ph.D. degree from MIT in 1966. Charles joined the Berkeley faculty in the Department of Chemistry in 1967. In 2003, Charles became Chair of the Department of Chemistry and then served as Dean of the College of Chemistry from 2004 through 2007. He was also a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and served in various administrative roles. Charles retired in 2015 but remained an important part of the chemistry community.

Charles was a world leader in the field of condensed phase chemical dynamics, with a focus on the areas of ultrafast and electron dynamics at interfaces and chemical reaction dynamics in liquids. His prolific career is reflected in over 200 publications and a number of prestigious honors and awards, including membership in the National Academy of Sciences and induction as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Physical Society. 

Please join me in honoring and remembering our distinguished colleague and friend. He will be greatly missed. 

Douglas S. Clark
Dean, College of Chemistry
Gilbert N. Lewis Professor