Karl Brown

Karl Leslie Brown

Karl Brown

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Karl L. Brown Obituary


Professor Karl L. Brown, age 76, died on August 29, 2002 at Stanford Hospital following a brief illness. Born and raised in Coalville, UT, he attended the University of Utah and in 1947, as a senior, transferred to Stanford University. Karl earned his BS, MS and PhD degrees in Physics at Stanford, and joined the faculty in 1974. He remained at Stanford throughout his career, except for several years of leave during which he participated in accelerator projects at laboratories around the world. He stayed active professionally until recently and last year celebrated his 50th year of service to the university and SLAC.

Karl L. Brown was a member of the core team of young scientists who under the leadership of W.K.H. Panofsky designed and built the two-mile Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC), a landmark in Menlo Park, celebrating the 40th anniversary of its foundation this month. In the course of his career, he acquired an international reputation as an expert in beam optics for particle accelerators. Research with such machines is largely responsible for what we know today about sub-atomic constituents of matter and the laws that govern them.

Though he received notable scientific recognition, his greatest satisfaction came from his contributions towards the development of cancer radiation therapy. As a graduate student in the 1950’s, he was part of a small research team at Stanford that built the first ever linear accelerator to be used for cancer treatment, in close collaboration with Henry S. Kaplan M.D of the medical school. Almost twenty years later, Karl L. Brown initiated and led the development of the first commercially successful line of such devices (named the CLINAC) by Varian Associates. The present day CLINACs treat over 100,000 patients a day throughout the world.

Karl is survived by his wife of 25 years, Vera Lüth, by five children from his earlier marriage to Anadel Smith-Law, David Brown of Danville, CA, Dennistoun Brown of Billings, MT, Adriana Cassani of Lindon, UT, Jerry Brown of Los Altos, CA and Andrew Brown of Mountain View, CA, and 14 grandchildren.

Memorial Services will be held in xxxx on September xx at 2:30pm in the xxx church at xxxxxx.. In lieu of flowers, his family would be pleased to receive notes from friends and colleagues reflecting on personal interactions with Karl. There is also an educational fund being set up in his name.