John H. Brodie

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John Hartley Brodie
Born 1970
Worcester, Massachusetts
Died January 28, 2006(2006-01-28) (aged 35–36)
Brattleboro, Vermont
Occupation Theoretical physicist

John Hartley Brodie (1970 – January 28, 2006), was a theoretical physicist specializing in string theory.

Early life[edit]

The son of Quaker parents, scientists Angela Hartley Brodie and Harry Brodie,[1] Brodie was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and raised in Columbia, Maryland, where he graduated from Atholton High School. Brodie received bachelor's and master's degrees in physics from Cornell University in 1991 and 1992, respectively. He took the next year off to travel the world, mainly in the Far East, where he developed an interest in Eastern philosophies and religions. Brodie then returned to doctoral studies at Princeton University, receiving a Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1998. He accepted post-doctorate offers first at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and then at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada.


One of the first postdoctoral researchers at Perimeter institute, Brodie's work was notable for its breadth, ranging from non-perturbative effects in supersymmetric gauge theories to string theoretic descriptions of quantum Hall fluids and of inflationary cosmology. During his short career, he published fifteen articles in peer-review journals, many of which have proven to be influential.

Later life and death[edit]

In later life, Brodie struggled with mental illness and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In 2004, Brodie took a leave of absence from research and publication in disciplinary journals to teach at the Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica. Traveling to Nicaragua, he helped construct housing for the poor with Habitat for Humanity. In 2005, after hiking much of the Appalachian Trail, he stopped in Brattleboro, Vermont and settled there. In Brattleboro, he worked packing grocery bags at the local Price Chopper supermarket and attended Quaker worship at nearby Putney Friends Meeting. On January 28, 2006, Brodie drowned near Brattleboro under tragic circumstances.

Eponymous award[edit]

The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics awards an annual prize in Brodie's memory which celebrates independence and creativity in theoretical research.


  1. ^ "John Hartley Brodie". Find a Grave. Retrieved 23 January 2016. 

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