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Fredrick Calvin Brown, Faculty

Fredrick Calvin Brown [physics 1951–55], November 18, 2011, in Everett, Washington. A pioneer in the study of the alkali and silver halides, Brown did both his undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard. During World War II, he worked for the U.S. Navy on radar technology. After earning his doctorate, he was a physicist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and at the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle. He taught at Reed for four years. As one of the first experimental physicists in the department, he was challenged by both the demands of research and teaching, and left Reed for the University of Illinois, where he remained until his retirement in 1987. Brown and his wife, Joan A. Schauble, then moved to Whidbey Island, Washington. Brown’s early work on defects in silver halides led to many years as a consultant for Eastman Kodak. He was also a pioneer in the development of synchrotron radiation as a probe of defects in crystals and invented “the grasshopper”—an ultrahigh-vacuum-compatible monochromator that opened up the previously inaccessible vacuum UV/soft x-ray spectral range. Brown climbed all the mountains in the Pacific Northwest except Glacier Peak. He held a pilot’s license for a number of years and was a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Jim Borders ’63, who notified the college of Brown’s death, met him at the University of Illinois, where Brown served as a thesis adviser for Jim in his graduate study in physics.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2013

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