250 years of innovation: Brown and scientific discovery

Professor of Physics Gerald Guralnik, along with two colleagues from other institutions, wrote a paper in 1964 that helped outline the workings of the Higgs Mechanism that received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics. The paper was one of three that led to the Higgs Boson, though only the first was awarded the Nobel Prize. Not winning the Nobel was disappointing, Guralnik told The Herald at the time, but he added that any recognition for the work was a positive step. In 2010, Guralnik won the J.J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics for his work related to the Higgs Boson.   Courtesy of Brown University.
Professor of Physics Gerald Guralnik, along with two colleagues from other institutions, wrote a paper in 1964 that helped outline the workings of the Higgs Mechanism that received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics. The paper was one of three that led to the Higgs Boson, though only the first was awarded the Nobel Prize. Not winning the Nobel was disappointing, Guralnik told The Herald at the time, but he added that any recognition for the work was a positive step. In 2010, Guralnik won the J.J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics for his work related to the Higgs Boson.
Courtesy of Brown University.
Professor of Computer Science Andries “Andy” van Dam invented hypertext, a program that largely shaped modern technology, in 1969. His idea for the program largely developed from his dislike of secretary’s editing style on his writing, van Dam told The Herald at the time. Van Dam also helped establish the Department of Computer Science at Brown during the 1960s. It has long been rumored that van Dam is the inspiration for the character Andy in Pixar’s Toy Story — a film many of his students were involved in — but the rumor is “simply not true,” van Dam previously told The Herald. Herald archives.
Professor of Computer Science Andries “Andy” van Dam invented hypertext, a program that largely shaped modern technology, in 1969. His idea for the program largely developed from his dislike of secretary’s editing style on his writing, van Dam told The Herald at the time. Van Dam also helped establish the Department of Computer Science at Brown during the 1960s. It has long been rumored that van Dam is the inspiration for the character Andy in Pixar’s Toy Story — a film many of his students were involved in — but the rumor is “simply not true,” van Dam previously told The Herald. Herald archives.
The BrainGate research program was established to “restore the communication, mobility, and independence of people with neurologic disease, injury, or limb loss,” according to the BrainGate website. BrainGate works to convert neural information into action-based commands. In 2013, the research team — including principle investigators Professor of Neuroscience John Donoghue, Associate Professor of Engineering Leigh Hochberg and Professor of Physics Arto Nurmikko — won the Moshe Mirilashvili Memorial Fund Breakthrough Research and Innovation in Neurotechnology Prize, a $1 million award that will allow the team to further their research, The Herald reported at the time. Pictured above, Nurmikko (left) and Donoghue (middle) receive the award from Israeli President Shimon Peres (right).  Courtesy of Chen Galili.
The BrainGate research program was established to “restore the communication, mobility, and independence of people with neurologic disease, injury, or limb loss,” according to the BrainGate website. BrainGate works to convert neural information into action-based commands. In 2013, the research team — including principle investigators Professor of Neuroscience John Donoghue, Associate Professor of Engineering Leigh Hochberg and Professor of Physics Arto Nurmikko — won the Moshe Mirilashvili Memorial Fund Breakthrough Research and Innovation in Neurotechnology Prize, a $1 million award that will allow the team to further their research, The Herald reported at the time. Pictured above, Nurmikko (left) and Donoghue (middle) receive the award from Israeli President Shimon Peres (right). Courtesy of Chen Galili.
In 1972, Professor of Physics Leon Cooper, along with two of his colleagues, received the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on the superconductivity of metal. Their theory helps explain the loss of resistance to electrical current once metal cools, The Herald reported at the time. The work was completed 15 years before Cooper and his colleagues were awarded, leading Cooper to worry every year about whether they would be selected. But he finally received the call that ceased his worries:“It doesn’t happen every day … and I’m not quite adjusted to the idea yet,” Cooper told The Herald at the time.  Herald Archives.
In 1972, Professor of Physics Leon Cooper, along with two of his colleagues, received the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on the superconductivity of metal. Their theory helps explain the loss of resistance to electrical current once metal cools, The Herald reported at the time. The work was completed 15 years before Cooper and his colleagues were awarded, leading Cooper to worry every year about whether they would be selected. But he finally received the call that ceased his worries:“It doesn’t happen every day … and I’m not quite adjusted to the idea yet,” Cooper told The Herald at the time. Herald Archives.
The Large Underground Xenon dark matter experiment aims to “directly detect galactic dark matter” in a laboratory located a mile underground in South Dakota, according to the project’s website. Professor of Physics Richard Gaitskell, is a co-sponsor of the research project. In February 2014, LUX increased its accuracy by 10 times what it had been. Currently the team continues to work to detect dark matter — particles that physicists largely believe exist but have not yet been detected.   By David Braun.
The Large Underground Xenon dark matter experiment aims to “directly detect galactic dark matter” in a laboratory located a mile underground in South Dakota, according to the project’s website. Professor of Physics Richard Gaitskell, is a co-sponsor of the research project. In February 2014, LUX increased its accuracy by 10 times what it had been. Currently the team continues to work to detect dark matter — particles that physicists largely believe exist but have not yet been detected. By David Braun.
William Williams Keen class of 1859 is credited as the first American brain surgeon, and is said to have performed the first successful brain tumor removal, according to the Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Keen also operated on President Grover Cleveland in 1893 to remove a growth from his jaw.  From Wikimedia Commons.
William Williams Keen class of 1859 is credited as the first American brain surgeon, and is said to have performed the first successful brain tumor removal, according to the Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Keen also operated on President Grover Cleveland in 1893 to remove a growth from his jaw. From Wikimedia Commons.
Professor of Geological Sciences and Environmental Sciences John Mustard chaired the Mars 2020 Science Definition Team, a group of researchers responsible for making scientific suggestions for the planned 2020 rover trip to Mars. In the expedition, a new, more modern rover will be launched to Mars in hopes of further understanding the surface of the planet and whether it was once inhabitable. A rendering of a previous rover,  Curiosity  is pictured above.  From Wikimedia Commons.
Professor of Geological Sciences and Environmental Sciences John Mustard chaired the Mars 2020 Science Definition Team, a group of researchers responsible for making scientific suggestions for the planned 2020 rover trip to Mars. In the expedition, a new, more modern rover will be launched to Mars in hopes of further understanding the surface of the planet and whether it was once inhabitable. A rendering of a previous rover, Curiosity is pictured above. From Wikimedia Commons.
Charles Kraus, professor of chemistry and director of chemical laboratories at the University between 1924 and 1946, conducted research that helped lead to the creation of “pyrex” and ethyl gasoline. He also discovered a method of creating seals between glass and fused quartz that helped lead to the creation of the ultra-violet lamp. Kraus also worked closely with the Manhattan Project responsible for the creation of the atomic bomb and was the consulting chemist for the United States Chemical Warfare Service. Kraus won numerous academic awards as well as the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award in 1948, according to Encyclopedia Brunoniana.  Courtesy of Brown University.
Charles Kraus, professor of chemistry and director of chemical laboratories at the University between 1924 and 1946, conducted research that helped lead to the creation of “pyrex” and ethyl gasoline. He also discovered a method of creating seals between glass and fused quartz that helped lead to the creation of the ultra-violet lamp. Kraus also worked closely with the Manhattan Project responsible for the creation of the atomic bomb and was the consulting chemist for the United States Chemical Warfare Service. Kraus won numerous academic awards as well as the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award in 1948, according to Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Courtesy of Brown University.
A study led by Associate Professor of Geological Sciences Alberto Saal published in 2013 reported that the water on the moon and the water on the Earth originate from the same source, according to a University press release at the time. Past research suggested the moon formed when Earth collided with another large object around 4.5 million years ago. While it has been believed that such an impact would cause substances like water to boil off and evaporate, the researchers presented evidence that water on the moon was preserved. This evidence opened new doors for research into the creation of planets and satellites, the researchers said in the press release.   Courtesy of Brown University.
A study led by Associate Professor of Geological Sciences Alberto Saal published in 2013 reported that the water on the moon and the water on the Earth originate from the same source, according to a University press release at the time. Past research suggested the moon formed when Earth collided with another large object around 4.5 million years ago. While it has been believed that such an impact would cause substances like water to boil off and evaporate, the researchers presented evidence that water on the moon was preserved. This evidence opened new doors for research into the creation of planets and satellites, the researchers said in the press release. Courtesy of Brown University.
Craig Mello ’82, professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, received the 2006 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Mello, who concentrated in biochemistry, co-developed the “RNA interference” technique, which allows researchers to detect the genes triggering cell growth. This technique makes it easier to then “silence” genes leading to diseases such as cancer, The Herald reported at the time. Upon receiving the news Mello told The Herald he was in disbelief. “It’s like a dream come true,” he said. Photo Courtesy of Brown University.
Craig Mello ’82, professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, received the 2006 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Mello, who concentrated in biochemistry, co-developed the “RNA interference” technique, which allows researchers to detect the genes triggering cell growth. This technique makes it easier to then “silence” genes leading to diseases such as cancer, The Herald reported at the time. Upon receiving the news Mello told The Herald he was in disbelief. “It’s like a dream come true,” he said. Photo Courtesy of Brown University.
Professor of Physics and Dean of the Graduate School Carl Barus was well-respected for his research about heat and received the Rumford Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1900 for this work. In 1892, Barus was named the youngest ever member of the National Academy of Sciences and between 1905 and 1906 he served as the fourth president of the American Physical Society.   From Wikimedia Commons.
Professor of Physics and Dean of the Graduate School Carl Barus was well-respected for his research about heat and received the Rumford Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1900 for this work. In 1892, Barus was named the youngest ever member of the National Academy of Sciences and between 1905 and 1906 he served as the fourth president of the American Physical Society.
From Wikimedia Commons.
Alexander Holley class of 1853 had an early interest in locomotives, and as an undergraduate he invented a steam engine cutoff, according to the Encyclopedia Brunoniana. After graduating, Holley spent time writing about engineering and traveling Europe where he became interested in the production of steel. Holley enhanced the steel production methods developed a few years prior and helped to build steel plants across the country, beginning the American steel industry, according to the encyclopedia.  By Brittany Comunale.
Alexander Holley class of 1853 had an early interest in locomotives, and as an undergraduate he invented a steam engine cutoff, according to the Encyclopedia Brunoniana. After graduating, Holley spent time writing about engineering and traveling Europe where he became interested in the production of steel. Holley enhanced the steel production methods developed a few years prior and helped to build steel plants across the country, beginning the American steel industry, according to the encyclopedia. By Brittany Comunale.

 

Andy Hertzfield ’75 is a computer scientist who was a co-developer of the original Apple Macintosh software. Now working for Google, Hertzfield led the design of the Circles user interface in Google+. Hertzfield also founded the companies Radius, General Magic and Eazel. Photo Courtesy of Folklore.org.
Andy Hertzfield ’75 is a computer scientist who was a co-developer of the original Apple Macintosh software. Now working for Google, Hertzfield led the design of the Circles user interface in Google+. Hertzfield also founded the companies Radius, General Magic and Eazel.
Photo Courtesy of Folklore.org.
Professor Emeritus of Applied Mathematics David Mumford received the National Science Foundation’s National Medal of Science in Oct. 2010. The award, the highest recognition for a scientist in the United States, recognized Mumford’s work in algebraic geometry and computer vision, The Herald reported at the time. Mumford is responsible for the Geometric Invariant Theory and for further developing the Enriques-Kodaira classification of surfaces. Mumford told The Herald that he fell in love with mathematics while he was an undergraduate because “it’s nice and straightforward.” Mumford received an honorary degree from the University in 2011. From Wikimedia Commons.
Lars Onsager, a research instructor in chemistry at the University between 1928 and 1933, won the 1968 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work he published while at Brown in 1931, according to the Encyclopedia Brunoniana. This research is now known as the fourth law of thermodynamics. One colleague said his work was “so theoretical that it took 37 years for it to be recognized adequately,” according to the encyclopedia. Photo from Herald archives.
Lars Onsager, a research instructor in chemistry at the University between 1928 and 1933, won the 1968 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work he published while at Brown in 1931, according to the Encyclopedia Brunoniana. This research is now known as the fourth law of thermodynamics. One colleague said his work was “so theoretical that it took 37 years for it to be recognized adequately,” according to the encyclopedia. Photo from Herald archives.
Stanley Falkow PhD’61, professor of microbiology and immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, received the Lasker-Koshland Achievement Award in Medical Science in 2008 for the work he has contributed to microbiology. Falkow helped lead the use of fluorescent imaging for tracking microorganisms inside their hosts and created a method for exploring the transfer of traits between bacterium, The Herald reported at the time. After winning the award, Falkow told The Herald he first became interested in the topic when he was 11 and read the book “Microbe Hunters.” Falkow received an honorary award from the University in 2013. Photo Courtesy of Brown University.
Stanley Falkow PhD’61, professor of microbiology and immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, received the Lasker-Koshland Achievement Award in Medical Science in 2008 for the work he has contributed to microbiology. Falkow helped lead the use of fluorescent imaging for tracking microorganisms inside their hosts and created a method for exploring the transfer of traits between bacterium, The Herald reported at the time. After winning the award, Falkow told The Herald he first became interested in the topic when he was 11 and read the book “Microbe Hunters.” Falkow received an honorary award from the University in 2013. Photo Courtesy of Brown University.
Aaron Beck ’42 is an American psychiatrist and professor emeritus of psychiatry at University of Pennsylvania who is most credited for developing a series of scales for testing depression and anxiety which are now used around the world, according to the Beck Institute website. These include the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation. He has been globally credited at the father of cognitive therapy and is the honorary president of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, according to the website.  Herald archives.
Aaron Beck ’42 is an American psychiatrist and professor emeritus of psychiatry at University of Pennsylvania who is most credited for developing a series of scales for testing depression and anxiety which are now used around the world, according to the Beck Institute website. These include the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation. He has been globally credited at the father of cognitive therapy and is the honorary president of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, according to the website. Herald archives.
Gordon Teal PhD’31 is credited for building the first successful silicon transistor. Teal researched geranium while at Brown, a topic he liked because of its “uselessness,” but this knowledge actually aided him in creating the transistor while at Texas Instruments. It was a discovery that made a name for the company, according to a PBS biography.   Courtesy of The  Texas Collection of Baylor University.
Gordon Teal PhD’31 is credited for building the first successful silicon transistor. Teal researched geranium while at Brown, a topic he liked because of its “uselessness,” but this knowledge actually aided him in creating the transistor while at Texas Instruments. It was a discovery that made a name for the company, according to a PBS biography.
Courtesy of The Texas Collection of Baylor University.
John Crawford ’75 is a computer science concentrator who led the development of the Intel386 microprocessor, according to the IEEE Computer Society Website. In 1995, Crawford received the Ekert-Mauchly Award for his work and in 1997 he received the IEEE Ernst Weber Engineering Leadership Recognition award.  Courtesy of the Computer History Museum.
John Crawford ’75 is a computer science concentrator who led the development of the Intel386 microprocessor, according to the IEEE Computer Society Website. In 1995, Crawford received the Ekert-Mauchly Award for his work and in 1997 he received the IEEE Ernst Weber Engineering Leadership Recognition award. Courtesy of the Computer History Museum.
Richard Solomon ’40 is best known for developing the opponent-process theory of emotion. The opponent-process theory states that when an emotional event occurs, a person will first have one reaction and then the opposite reaction. Solomon received the 1966 Distinguished Scientific Contribution award from the American Psychological Association and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.  Herald archives.
Richard Solomon ’40 is best known for developing the opponent-process theory of emotion. The opponent-process theory states that when an emotional event occurs, a person will first have one reaction and then the opposite reaction. Solomon received the 1966 Distinguished Scientific Contribution award from the American Psychological Association and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. Herald archives.
Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science David Berson helped to identify “intrinsically photosensitive ganglion cells,” a class of cells in the eyes that are light sensitive but in a different way from the cells already discovered — rods and cones. These cells have been linked to circadian rhythms, the regulation of pupil size and hormonal processes. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology recently announced Berson as the 2015 recipient of the Friedenwald Award for this work.  Courtesy of Brown University.
Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science David Berson helped to identify “intrinsically photosensitive ganglion cells,” a class of cells in the eyes that are light sensitive but in a different way from the cells already discovered — rods and cones. These cells have been linked to circadian rhythms, the regulation of pupil size and hormonal processes. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology recently announced Berson as the 2015 recipient of the Friedenwald Award for this work. Courtesy of Brown University.
Professor of Physics John Kosterlitz is a co-developer of the Kosterlitz-Thouless transition, a transition model that helps to explain transformations of mass due to the transfer of heat. In 2000, Kosterlitz received the Lars Onsager Prize specifically for his work on this model. Photo Courtesy of Brown University.
Professor of Physics John Kosterlitz is a co-developer of the Kosterlitz-Thouless transition, a transition model that helps to explain transformations of mass due to the transfer of heat. In 2000, Kosterlitz received the Lars Onsager Prize specifically for his work on this model. Photo Courtesy of Brown University.
Zachariah Allen 1813 invented the automatic cut-off valve, patented in 1833, as well as the first hot-air furnace for houses, according to the Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Allen had a long-standing interest in both Providence and Brown, contributing to the Providence water-works system, contributing its first fire engine and serving as a University trustee from 1826 to 1882 when he died. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
Zachariah Allen 1813 invented the automatic cut-off valve, patented in 1833, as well as the first hot-air furnace for houses, according to the Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Allen had a long-standing interest in both Providence and Brown, contributing to the Providence water-works system, contributing its first fire engine and serving as a University trustee from 1826 to 1882 when he died.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
Professor of Physics Eli Whitney Blake conducted research at the University that contributed to the invention of the modern-day telephone, according to the Encyclopedia Brunoniana. He helped contribute to early demonstrations that occurred at the University, according to the encyclopedia. Blake and his colleagues worked at the same time as Alexander Graham Bell who is credited as the inventor of the telephone. Bell referred to Blake and his fellow researchers as “the experimenters,” according to the encyclopedia. Also, Blake developed a sound recording system that influenced the first move sound tracks, according to the encyclopedia.  Herald archives.
Professor of Physics Eli Whitney Blake conducted research at the University that contributed to the invention of the modern-day telephone, according to the Encyclopedia Brunoniana. He helped contribute to early demonstrations that occurred at the University, according to the encyclopedia. Blake and his colleagues worked at the same time as Alexander Graham Bell who is credited as the inventor of the telephone. Bell referred to Blake and his fellow researchers as “the experimenters,” according to the encyclopedia. Also, Blake developed a sound recording system that influenced the first move sound tracks, according to the encyclopedia. Herald archives.