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Laird Charles Brodie ’44

A picture of Laird Brodie

Laird Charles Brodie ’44, July 31, 2009, at home in Portland, following an extended illness. Laird was the son of Reed alumni F. Walter Brodie ’23 and medical pioneer Jessie Laird Brodie ’20. He earned a BA from Reed, an MA at the University of Chicago and a PhD at Northwestern University, all in physics. In 1943, he was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Force and studied meteorology at the University of Washington, University of Chicago, Harvard, and MIT. Laird was a professor of physics at Portland State University (1956–87). In his innovative approach to teaching, he employed examples from solar energy to illustrate physics concepts, and he also taught courses in the physics of music and photography. His research involved heat transfer in cryogenic liquids. Laird played the French horn in the Portland Junior Symphony and later in the Portland Opera and Marylhurst College orchestras. He also enjoyed hiking, backpacking, and sea kayaking. He married Rosemary G. Eliot in 1948; they had three children. In 1974, he married Mary Ellen Carson ’49, MAT ’65. The couple did volunteer work for Reed, attended symphony and chamber music concerts, and hiked with the Friends of the Columbia Gorge and the Mazamas. Survivors include Mary, his son and two daughters; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; his sister; and brother Alan Brodie ’51.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2010

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