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John Brodie

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BRATTLEBORO -- John Hartley Brodie, 36, a theoretical physicist, accidentally drowned on Jan. 28, 2006, near Brattleboro, where he was residing.

He was born in Worcester, Mass., attended Society of Friends (Quaker) services in Sandy Spring, Md., and graduated from Atholton High School in Howard County, Md., where he became an accomplished pianist and lacrosse player.

He went on to receive his B.S and M.S. degrees from Cornell University in physics. He then took a year off from his studies to travel around the world, mainly to the Far East, where he developed an interest in Eastern philosophies and religions.

He returned to continue his studies at Princeton University where he received a Ph.D. degree in theoretical physics in 1998. His thesis was on gauge and string theories. He went on to do research on string theory, first at the Stanford University Linear Accelerator and then at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Physicists call string theory the “theory of everything” because it attempts to integrate diverse forms of energy into an overall concept.

Mr. Brodie published a number of research papers in peer-review journals on this subject. In 2004, Mr. Brodie took a leave from his research to teach at the Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica. While there, he traveled to Nicaragua to help Habitat for Humanity construct housing for poor inhabitants.

Over the years, Mr. Brodie became an avid environmentalist, supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and, not surprisingly, a strict vegetarian. He also opposed the current war and was active in the peace movement.

His avocations included playing his guitar, hiking, camping, cycling, yoga, and meditation.

Survivors include his parents, Harry and Angela Brodie of Fulton, and a brother, Mark and his wife Amy and their two children of the Los Angeles area.

Funeral services were held on Feb. 11 at Friends Meeting House in Sandy Spring, followed by a reception in the Community Houseo

A memorial service will be held at the Putney Friends Meeting at 2pm on Saturday, March 4. The meetinghouse is located on Route 5 just north of the Putney village center.u
Published in Brattleboro Reformer on Feb. 16, 2006
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