Theodore “Ted” Brown, the founding director of the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, celebrated his 90th birthday with family, friends and former colleagues during a two-day symposium.
The Ted Brown 90th Birthday and Research Symposium on Confronting the Challenges of Climate Change was held at the Beckman Institute from Monday, October 15 to Tuesday, October 16, 2018. The event began with Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Director of the Earth System Science Center, from Pennsylvania State University. He spoke about his new book, Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming.
After the opening talk, the guests gathered in the atrium of the Beckman Institute and sang “Happy Birthday” to Ted and enjoyed some birthday cake. The evening included a dinner where many attendees shared memories from Ted’s tenure at Illinois. The Department of Chemistry also hosted a coffee hour meet and greet on Monday morning before the symposium began. Current and former students were excited to wish Ted well.
During his years as a member of the chemistry faculty at the University of Illinois, Ted Brown enjoyed a multifaceted career as a research scholar, author, administrator, and teacher. After earning his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1956, Brown joined the department in the same year.
He earned numerous awards and served in many important roles on the University of Illinois campus, including vice chancellor for research and dean of the Graduate College (1980–1986) and interim vice chancellor for academic affairs (1992–1993) before retiring in 1993. In addition to his role as director of the Beckman Institute at Illinois, he also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation from 1994 to 2008.
Patricia Jones, associate director for research at the Beckman Institute, was in charge of the organizing committee for the event. She said, “It was our great honor and pleasure to host the 90th birthday of our founding director Ted Brown.”
“Climate science is a great example of interdisciplinary research that is the hallmark of Beckman, and we were honored that Ted and his family and friends were able to join us for an amazing series of talks by leaders in their fields.”
The morning speakers on Tuesday, October 16 were:
James Hurrell, Scott Presidential Chair of Environmental Science and Engineering, Colorado State University: Climate Predictions and Projections in the Coming Decades: Uncertainty due to Natural Variability.
Marcetta York Darensbourg, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Texas A&M University: A Role for Organometallic Chemistry in Sustainable Energy Accessibility: Synthetic Analogues of Hydrogenases.
Joanne Chory, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Professor and Director, Plant Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies: Harnessing Plants to Fight Climate Change.
The afternoon speakers were:
Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, the Ohio State University: Managing World Soils for Confronting the Challenges of Climate Change.
Donald J. Darensbourg, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Texas A&M University: Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU): Polycarbonates Produced from Carbon Dioxide.
Catherine J. Murphy, Larry R. Faulkner Endowed Chair in Chemistry, Illinois: Can Nanotechnology Save the World?
The afternoon ended with a panel of current and former University of Illinois faculty. The panelists were Professor Jeff Moore, director of the Beckman Institute; Professor Ted Brown; Professor Catherine Murphy; and Professor Don Wuebbles, Harry E. Preble Endowed Professor, Atmospheric Sciences. Those attending the symposium were then offered an opportunity to get their pictures taken with Ted and a closing reception was held in the atrium of the Beckman Institute. It was a wonderful event, enjoyed by Ted, his family members who came, former students and colleagues, as well as his descendants in spirit.
Mary Jo Hettinger