Photo of Brandon Brown

Brandon R. Brown


Full-Time Faculty
Harney Science Center 107D


Brandon R. Brown pursued doctoral training in superconductivity and low-temperature physics, with postdoctoral work in science communication. Once at the University of San Francisco, he shifted his research focus to sensory biophysics. He and his collaborators and students explored the electric and magnetic sensory abilities of a variety of creatures. Brandon served as associate dean for sciences, during which time the university completed planning stages for the Lo Schiavo Center for Science and Innovation, for which he helped fundraising efforts. He currently writes about science for broader audiences, including various columns, essays, and two books: Planck (2015, Oxford University Press), and The Apollo Chronicles (2019, Oxford University Press). See his author page for more information.


  • High-temperature superconductivity
  • Sensory biophysics
  • History of science
  • Science communication
  • Fundraising

Research Areas

  • Low-temperature transport measurements
  • The electric sense of sharks, skates, and rays
  • The life and work of Max Planck
  • History of NASA's Apollo program


  • Chair, Physics and Astronomy
  • Director of External Affairs, Arts and Sciences
  • Associate Dean for Sciences


  • PhD, Oregon State University (Vortex Dynamics in High-temperature Superconductors)

Awards & Distinctions

  • Distinguished Lecturer at the William J. Clinton School for Public Service, 2019

  • Housatonic Book Award for Nonfiction (recognizing Planck), 2016.

  • USF Faculty Distinguished Research Award, 2010 & 2016.

  • Frank Beach Award for Outstanding Leadership in USF Service, 2012.

  • Arthur Furst Award, recognizing distinguished research for the betterment of humankind, 2004.

Selected Publications

  • "What Called Them to Physics?" Scientific American, Observations. (March, 2020).

  • The Apollo Chronicles: Engineering America's First Moon Missions (Oxford University Press, 2019)

  • "Genius Move: Max Planck showed us how to Change our Minds," Slate (June 2015).

  • Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War (Oxford University Press, 2015).

  • "Temperature Sensitivity in Electrosensors and Thermal Voltages in Electrolytes." Journal of Biological Physics 36, 121-134 (2010).