Louis W. Roberts was born in Jamestown, New York, in 1913. He was educated at Fisk University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1935, and a Master of Science from the University of Michigan in 1937. Roberts served as a research assistant for Standard Oil of New Jersey from 1935 to 1936. He was a graduate assistant from 1936-37 while at the University of Michigan. He served as Instructor of Physics at St. Augustine's College from 1937-39. Roberts was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Physics at St. Augustine's College from 1941 to 1943 and Associate Professor of Physics at Howard University, 1943-44. Roberts holds eleven patents for electronic devices and is the author of papers on electromagnetism, optics, and microwaves.
Roberts served as Director of Research for Microwave Associates from 1950 to the present. He is also the Director of Energy and Environment at the Transportation System Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1977 to the present. The Transportation System Center, as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, develops energy conservation practices for the transportation industries. Currently, transportation accounts for over half of the United States' consumption of petroleum. However, the Energy Conservation Policy Act requires the transportation sector to reduce fuel consumption in all types of vehicles.
During Roberts' career, he has served as chief of the Optics and Microwave Laboratory in the Electronics Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He founded and was president of a microwave company. His research interests focus on microwave and optical techniques and components, plasma research, solid state component and circuit development.