Robert James Havighurst (June 5, 1900 in De Pere, Wisconsin – January 31, 1991 in Richmond, Indiana) was a professor, physicist, educator, and aging expert. Both his father, Freeman Alfred Havighurst, and mother, Winifred Weter Havighurst, had been educators at Lawrence University. Havighurst worked and published well into his 80s. According to his family, Havighurst died of Alzheimer's disease at the age of ninety.
He attended public schools in Wisconsin and Illinois. He obtained many degrees and education achievements: 1918-21 B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University, 1922 M.A. Ohio State University, 1924 Ph.D., Chemistry Ohio State University, 1953-54 Fulbright Scholar, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 1961 Fulbright Scholar University of Buenos Aires, 1962 Honorary Degree Sc. Adelphi University, 1963 Hon. L.L.D. Ohio Wesleyan University.
He published a number of papers in journal of physics and chemistry about the structure of the atom in 1924. He went to Harvard University as a postdoctoral fellow, studying atomic structure and publishing papers in journals of physics and chemistry.
He decided to change careers in 1928, so he went into the field of experimental education. He became an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In 1940, he became an education professor at the University of Chicago in the University's Committee on Human Development. He worked in the field of aging. Again, in the same year he was interested in international and comparative aspects of education. He wrote several books and published many papers. His most famous book called "Human Development and Education".
He was inducted in the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame.