- National Academies (1906)
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
Robert Edward Lyons was born in Bloomfield, Indiana on October 24, 1869 to Mathew J. and Alice (Eveleigh) Lyons. He earned his B.S. (1889) and his M.A. (1890) both from Indiana University. He spent time studying in Germany at the Universities of Heidelberg, Munich, and Berlin and was affiliated with the Institute for Physiology of Fermentation in Copenhagen. Lyons became instructor of chemistry at IU in 1889, assistant professor in 1890, associate professor from 1891-1892, and professor and head of the department from 1895-1938. He directed the IU Biological Field Station in 1900, was the chief chemist for the Indiana State Departmetn of Geology and Natural Resources from 1900-1915, was also a professor of chemistry at the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons in Indianapolis before it merged with IU and Lyons became chairman of the department of chemistry at the IU School of Medicine. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institution of Chemists, the Indiana Academy of Science, American Chemical Society, Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft, Phi Delta Theta, Alpha Chi Sigma, Nu Sigma Nu, and Sigma Xi. Lyons's publications included: Qualitative Analysis Inorganic Substances, 1897, 2d edit., 1900; Manual of Toxicological Analysis, 1899; he also wrote articles on physiology, synthetic, organic and analytical chemistry, in both American and German publications. Lyons invented processes for amalgamation of platinum and of refractory gold; for recovery of used soap from laundry suds; for rapid polymerization and oxidation of drying oils; for light and weather proof coloring of oolitic limestone; for recovery of pectin from certain fruit and vegetable waste; for silver and gold mirror decoration; and for reduction of nitro compounds.