Norman Jack Brown, Jr.

In Memoriam: Norman Jack Brown, Jr.

September 03, 2010

OSA Mourns the Loss of Norman Jack Brown, Jr.

Norman Jack BrownNorman J. Brown, Jr., an OSA Fellow who was a career scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California, USA, died of a stroke on 3 September 2010. He was 79.

After serving with the U.S. Army in Korea, Brown received a BA from the St. Joseph’s Seminary in Menlo Park, CA, and a BS and ME from the University of California at Berkeley.  His spent his career with LLNL as an engineer in the Mechanical Engineering Department, where he worked on nuclear reactors and in optics and optical fabrication, including work on the Hubbell Telescope.   Brown retired from LLNL in 1994.

An OSA member since 1981, Brown was elected a Fellow in 1982.  He was a recipient of OSA’s David Richardson Medal, given for significant contributions to optical engineering, primarily in the commercial and industrial sector (1985) and of SPIE’s Rudolf Kingslake Medal, awarded annually in recognition of the most noteworthy original paper to appear in the Society's official journal, Optical Engineering, on the theoretical or experimental aspects of optical engineering (1978). 

Brown was a renaissance man, an avid photographer, painter and calligrapher.  His hand-tooled pens made of exotic woods were prized by calligraphers around the world.  He was also a passionate book collector and chef, as well as a supporter of the theatre, opera and symphonies around the Bay Area.  

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Virginia Jurgens Brown, four children, nine grandchildren, one great-grandchild, two sisters and a brother. His son, Stephen, predeceased him in 1977.

The family would appreciate donations to the Pippin Pocket Opera, 469 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA 94107, and the Society of St. Sulpice, Provincial House, 5408 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210-1988.  If you would like to make a memorial donation to the OSA Foundation in honor of Norman J. Brown, please visit

This obituary was contributed by the Brown family.



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