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In Memorial

Charles Brown

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08/26/11 03:06 PM #1    

Joanne Lea Jones (Dreher)

Obituary: Professor Charles S. Brown 

            Dr. Charles Stevenson Brown, prominent physicist and professor, departed this world on the morning of September 29, 2007.   Dr. Brown was born in Boston, Massachusetts on August 5, 1947 and was the third of four children of his parents, the late M/Sgt. (Ret.) Robert Brown and the late Corrie Lee Brown.         

            Although Dr. Brown struggled with education in his early years because of chronic asthma which resulted in his failure to pass the fourth grade, the determination he gained as a result of this and other experiences ultimately led Dr. Brown to college and graduate school.    Dr. Brown earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics from Morehouse College in 1973.  That same year, Dr. Brown received a DuPont Graduate Fellowship to pursue graduate studies at Emory University.  In 1975, Dr. Brown earned the Masters of Science Degree in Physics from Emory University.  While at Emory, he won the Sigma Xi Award for the best Masters' Thesis.  In 1976, he received a National Fellowship Fund Award from the Ford Foundation to pursue a Doctorate Degree at Georgia Institute of Technology (better known as Georgia Tech).  Dr. Brown received the Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Georgia Tech in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics in 1981.  His dissertation was titled "Aspects of Structure and Interactive Processes at Solid Crystal Surfaces".  It was one of the first dissertations in the soon-to-be burgeoning area of nanoscience.  Dr. Brown was the first native-born African American to receive a Ph.D. Degree from Georgia Tech.

      In 1982, Dr. Brown started his professional career at Bell Laboratories, which later become a part of AT&T.  Better known as Bell Labs, it was unquestionably one of the best industry-based scientific and technical laboratories in the world.  During his career at Bell Labs, he worked in theoretical physics, applied physics, optical fiber device development, optical fiber telecommunications systems engineering, and optical fiber design, development and manufacturing.  His main area of scientific expertise was the theoretical and experimental aspects of polarization optics.  Internationally, Dr. Brown is considered one of the leading experts in the field with over 50 scientific and technical publications.  In 1985, Dr. Brown started the Atlanta University/Bell Labs Lecture Series which allowed students to interact with engineers.  His intent was to encourage African-American students to enter the engineering disciplines.  In addition, from 1987 to 1989, Dr. Brown co-chaired the annual SPIE International Conference on Coherent Communications.

            In 1989, the late Prof. Abdus Salam, Nobel laureate and famed Director of the International Center of Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy, appointed Dr. Brown as one of the five American physicists to serve as founding Council Members of the newly created Edward A. Bouchet - ICTP Institute.  This international institute was organized to promote physics, engineering, and high-technology education and infrastructure development in African countries for sustainable development on the continent.  It later became known as the Edward Bouchet - Abdus Salam Institute. 

            Between 1989 and 1991, Dr. Brown served as an AT&T Bell Labs Visiting Scholar at Clark Atlanta University.  He served as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Physics during the critical period when Clark College merged with Atlanta University to form what is presently known as Clark Atlanta University.  During that time, Dr. Brown chaired the Department and taught physics and engineering classes.  He was also responsible for recruiting prominent professors and for substantially increasing the number of undergraduate and graduate students in the Physics Department.  Dr. Brown returned to AT&T Bell Labs in 1991.  In 1993, Dr. Brown was awarded the Black Engineer of the Year Pioneer Award both for his training of young African-American and African scientists and engineers and for his contributions in science and technology.  Later in 1993, he was promoted to Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories for maintaining a sustained level of excellence in his assigned areas of work.

            In 1995, Dr. Brown was elected Chairman of the Council of the Edward Bouchet - Abdus Salam Institute.  Later that year, he was selected a Fulbright Scholar to assist in the development of a regional Doctorate Program in Physics at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.  In 1996, Dr. Brown was awarded an ICTP Visiting Scholarship to complete his CapeCoast work on the regional Doctorate Program.  As of April 2002, the program at the University of Cape Coast has produced three Ph. Ds in physics from three different West African countries.

      After returning to Lucent Technologies (formerly Bell Labs) in early 1997, Dr. Brown was assigned to the optical fiber design team.  His responsibilities were to model and design optical fibers for both undersea and terrestrial systems, to develop the designs into products and finally to introduce them to the manufacturing process.  One of his designs, the TW-SRS submarine fiber, has become one of the most popular in the industry.  Dr. Brown is also the sole author of the patent for the design "Optical fiber having negative dispersion and low slope in the Erbium amplifier region".  Dr. Brown retired from Lucent Technologies in January 2001 after over 19 years of service.

            In February 2001, Dr. Brown joined Luxcore Networks, Inc. as Chief Scientist. Luxcore was a startup company specializing in optical components for the telecommunications industry.  His duties at Luxcore included responsibility for building and leading a R&D organization to develop intellectual property and optical components for applications in optical telecommunications networks.  He left Luxcore in June 2002.  In August   2002, Dr. Brown joined the faculty of Georgia PerimeterCollege. 

      Dr. Brown also taught various engineering, mathematics, and physics courses at several colleges and universities in the Atlanta area.  He served as principal advisor to several Masters' and Doctorate Degree students.  All of his graduate students did their work in aspects of polarization optics, Dr. Brown's area of scientific and technical expertise.  In September 2001, the University of Cape Coast appointed Dr. Brown a "permanent" Visiting Professor at the rank of Full Professor with membership on the University's Academic Council.

      In October 2002, Dr. Brown was awarded the William R. Jones Most Valuable Mentor Award by the Florida Education Foundation for mentoring young Florida Education Foundation supported Ph. Ds in science and engineering.  In 2004, he was appointed the International Affairs Director of the National Society of Black Physicists and elected President of the Fulbright Scholar Association of Georgia.   In addition to these awards, Dr. Brown was the recipient of numerous other scientific awards and honors.

      In 2003, Dr. Brown was appointed Interim Chair and later Chair of the Department of Physics at MorehouseCollege where he continued to teach and mentor students until just prior to his death.

      Dr. Brown also spent many years traveling to Africa for various scientific conferences.  He visited Ghana, Benin, Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Tunisia, Kenya, Egypt, South Africa and Botswana.  Because of Dr. Brown's many contributions to Ghana, his second home, in 2000, he was one of the first African Americans to be installed as one of the chiefs at the village of Assin Manso in Ghana. 

            Dr. Brown's commitment to the education of African-American youth and his dedication to serve them set Dr. Brown apart from his peers in promoting higher education.  Dr. Brown not only helped these youth with their studies, but also with their commitment to higher education and with their own role as models for younger African-American students.  In addition to physics and engineering, Dr. Brown spent time teaching his students African and African-American history-particularly as it related to science and technology.

            Dr. Brown leaves to cherish his memories his loving wife, Juanita Brown, and his four children:  Darryl L. Brown, Ph. D. Benin W. Brown (credit analyst), Kayla O. Brown and Arleda V. Brown (student),  his six grandchildren:  Obadiah C. Brown, Meaghan A. Brown, Darryl L. Brown, II, Alexis J. Brown, Iman D. Lawson and Tana M. Brown, his brother, Robert W. Brown, his sisters, Carolyn Y. Morgan and Lynn M. Whitfield, his aunt, his mother-in-law, his nieces, nephews, cousins, daughters-in-law, sisters and brothers in-law, friends, students and colleagues. His son, the late Obadiah L. Brown preceded him in death.


09/02/11 05:50 PM #2    

Heidi Marie West (Campbell)

You did it well. You lived life to the fullest. You are often in my thoughts. My next door neighbor and friend. Your parents were very proud of you.

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