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Biographical Memoirs: Volume 65
September 26, 1917 -December 8, 1986
BY ROGER REVELLE
HARRISON SCOTT BROWN WAS born in Sheridan, Wyoming, on September 26, 1917, the son of Harrison H. Brown, a rancher and cattle broker, and Agnes Scott Brown, a piano teacher and a professional organist. His father died when he was ten years old, and mother and son moved to San Francisco, where Mrs. Brown supplemented her income as a dental assistant by teaching music and playing piano for silent movies. Young Harrison grew up to be a competent pianist, who organized his own jazz orchestra. He played entirely by ear; apparently, his mother had never taught him to read music.
After graduating from Galileo High School in San Francisco, where he is said to have built his own chemistry laboratory, he entered the University of California at Berkeley, and received a B.S. in chemistry in 1938. One of the faculty members who influenced him was the chemist, G. E. Gibson, who did research on stable isotopes and their separation by mass spectrometry and gaseous thermal diffusion. Another Berkeley professor, Robert D. Fowler, also interested him in nuclear chemistry. When Fowler moved to Johns Hopkins
Roger Revelle died on July 15, 1991. This memoir was reviewed and revised in small part by Edward Goldberg, Claire C. Patterson, and George Tilton.