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Adrian G. Brook

by Susan J. Ainsworth
January 6, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 1

Adrian G. Brook, 89, University Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at the University of Toronto, died on July 10, 2013, of complications from cancer.

Born in Toronto, Brook obtained a B.S. in chemistry in 1947 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1950, both from the University of Toronto.

After lecturing at the University of Saskatchewan, he accepted a Nuffield Fellowship at Imperial College London with R. P. Linstead, and subsequently, a research fellowship at Iowa State University with Henry Gilman.

Brook then returned to the University of Toronto as a chemistry lecturer, becoming a professor in 1962.

Conducting research in organosilicon chemistry, he discovered a rearrangement reaction that was later named the Brook rearrangement. He also synthesized the first stable compounds containing silicon-carbon double bonds.

Brook published roughly 150 scientific papers and cowrote the book “Historical Distillates: Chemistry at the University of Toronto since 1843.”

He served as chair of the chemistry department from 1971 until 1974, was named a University Professor in 1987, and retired in 1989.

Brook was named a fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) and the Royal Society of Canada. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1948.

He received ACS’s Frederic Stanley Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry in 1973, the CIC Medal in 1985, and the Killam Memorial Prize in 1994. The University of Toronto has instituted two scholarships in his name.

A gifted handyman, Brook built a cottage in 1965 on a small lake in Muskoka, Central Ontario.

Brook is survived by his wife of 58 years, Peg; sons, Michael and David; daughter, Katherine; and seven grandchildren.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.


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