top of page

Obituary: Ted Brown

Updated: Nov 27, 2018

With sadness we report the death of Seward (Ted) Brown. Ted was Emeritus Professor at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario and a pioneer of paleolimnological research.

He died peacefully at his home north of Kingston on Friday evening, June 18, 2010 at the age of 92, surrounded by close friends.

Ted is widely recognized for his seminal work on the study of fossil pigments in lake sediments.

His affiliation with the limnological and paleolimnological community, and with Queen’s University, has been a long one. After being born and raised in Nova Scotia, and following five years of decorated military service in the World War II, Ted went to Queen’s University to take his bachelor’s and master’s degree, working on the Lake Opinicon region. In 1954 he was accepted to work on a doctoral thesis with G. Evelyn Hutchinson at Yale University, to develop new approaches in the new field of “paleolimnology”. He returned to Queen’s University in 1959 as an assistant professor and the Director of the Queen’s University Biology Station.

Ted retired from teaching and active research in the late 1980s, but maintained a keen interest in paleolimnology, and was genuinely pleased with our field’s tremendous advancements. The last scientific conference that he attended was the 8th International Paleolimnology Symposium, held at Queen’s University in August 2000, where he was the guest of honour. He maintained an interest in paleolimnology throughout his later years and took a keen interest in the lives of his colleagues.

A short summary of his career, which was part of a special session dedicated to his retirement at the International Paleolimnology Symposium, held in Austria in the 1980s, and written by John Smol, was published as part of the proceedings from that conference: Smol, J.P. 1986. A biographical sketch of Seward R. (Ted) Brown. Hydrobiologia 143: 9-11 (


bottom of page