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Jerry Braunstein

by Susan J. Ainsworth
January 19, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 3

Photo of Jerry Braunstein.

Jerry Braunstein, 91, a retired Oak Ridge National Laboratory chemist, died on Sept. 17, 2014, in his Clinton, Tenn., home.

Born in New York City, Braunstein earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at City College of New York in 1942, before working on the Manhattan Project at Columbia University. After World War II, he received a master’s degree in chemistry in 1947 from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1951 from Northwestern University under Arthur A. Frost.

Braunstein was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington before serving as a professor at the University of Maine, Orono, for 12 years.

He then moved to a physical chemistry research position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; he focused on the thermodynamics and electrochemistry of molten salts. His group’s work led to two patents and roughly 100 articles.

Braunstein was coeditor of a series of books, “Advances in Molten Salt Chemistry,” and chaired a Gordon Research Conference on Molten Salts. He retired from Oak Ridge after more than 23 years of service.

He was a member of Sigma Xi and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1945.

An opera aficionado, he was a supernumerary in many Knoxville Opera productions. He served on the boards of the Knoxville Opera Guild and the University of Tennessee School of Music.

He is survived by his wife, Catherine; sons, Arthur, David, and Michael; daughter, Sarah; and six 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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