Robert A. Pascal, Jr., was born in New Orleans in 1954. He attended Louisiana State University where he ran track (primarily the long sprints: 440 y and 600 y) and graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Biochemistry. Entering Rice University on an NSF Predoctoral Fellowship, he studied demethylation reactions in cholesterol biosynthesis and received his Ph.D. (Biochemistry) in 1980. After two years as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT (Chemistry), he joined the Chemistry faculty at Princeton as an Assistant Professor. He received an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in 1987, and he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1988 and to Professor in 1998. After more than 26 years at Princeton, he retired in 2009 and accepted the Bernard Villars Baus Chair in Chemistry at Tulane University. He then surprised everyone by marrying Qin Qian in 2012, and in 2014 a son, Philip Steed Peng-Fei Pascal (called "Steed"), was born to the happy couple.

Dr. Pascal's principal research interests have been in the areas of biochemistry (enzyme mechanisms, design of enzyme inhibitors, and natural product biosynthesis) and physical organic chemistry (strained aromatic molecules, kinetic isotope effects, molecular association, and crystal engineering) with a recent emphasis on the latter. His chief pastimes are reading, running, and cycling; he has a financially unhealthy affinity for consumer electronics; and he is a sometime amateur astronomer and photographer.