Herbert C. Brown Biography
Birthday: May 22, 1912 (Gemini)
Born In: London, England
Herbert C. Brown was an English-born American chemist who won a share of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1979 for his work with organoboranes. He made several notable contributions to the field of organic chemistry, especially to organoboron chemistry or organoborane chemistry. The son of Jewish immigrants in London, he moved to the United States with his family when he was a toddler. He was a brilliant student from a young age and developed a voracious reading habit. An unfortunate incident during his high school years forced him to drop out but the determined boy persevered and completed his graduation. More difficulties followed during the Great Depression but Brown somehow continued his education and earned a B.S. in 1936, followed by a doctorate two years later. Married by now, he looked for a job but was unable to find a suitable one. Thus he was pushed into an academic career as a post-doctorate fellow and began his research in chemistry that would eventually lead to his seminal work with organoboranes. He worked along with Hermann Irving Schlesinger in his laboratory and the two men came up with significant discoveries for the National Defense Research Committee. Brown spent most of his academic career at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and retired in 1978.