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Robert Gregg Brownlee (1942-1991) was an American chemist.



Robert Brownlee was born October 21, 1942 in South Dakota. He founded Brownlee Labs in the 70s, in the San Francisco Bay area, a manufacturer of columns and pumps for high performance liquid chromatography systems.

Bob Brownlee took the initiative "along with Tom Jupille, Steve Bakalyar, Nelson Cooke, Jerry Higgins and Ron Majors" to form the Bay Area Chromatography Colloquium. Bob Stevenson is quoted as saying in his Nine Lives of the California Separation Science Society that Brownlee Labs was "certainly one of the globe's leaders in HPLC column technology."

In the 80s, when Robert Brownlee was diagnosed with AIDS-related complex, he sold his company to Applied Biosystems of Foster City, California in 1984.[1] (Applied later merged with Perkin-Elmer).[2]

Sometime later, he began a new company, which was viewed by Applied as a competitor. A lawsuit was instituted and later settled (Brownlee v. Applied Biosystems, Inc., 1989-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) 68, (N.D. Cal. 1989) 8,14).

In 1990, he was interviewed for an article in The Scientist about Applied Biosystems. "If you produce the first product for these virgins [scientists without such equipment], you have a big value added, and you can charge a big price for your product," Brownlee says. "That's the reason Applied Biosystems did so well."[3]

He also formed the Robert Brownlee Foundation, a private family foundation which supports, with grants, K-12 science. In addition, the contributions of his foundation, made possible a project introducing children to marine sciences, aboard the 90-foot research vessel the Robert G. Brownlee, built in 1998 and run by the Marine Science Institute of Redwood City, California.

He died on February 27, 1991 of AIDS.


  • Simulated distillation of high-boiling petroleum fractions by capillary supercritical fluid chromatography and vacuum thermal gravimetric analysis, with Herbert E. Schwartz, Mieczyslaw M. Boduszynski, and Fu Su in Analytical Chemistry (journal), May 15, 1987



  1. ^ New York Times, Dec. 12, 1984 "for 130,000 shares"
  2. ^ New York Times, Oct. 7, 1992
  3. ^ The Scientist, June, 1990

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