Start a Profile  Forgot Password
Close this search box.

Jerry Braunstein, Class of 1938

Dr. Jerry Braunstein, age 91, passed away on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, in his Clinton, TN home. He was born in New York, N.Y., on December 24, 1922. After attending Townsend Harris High School (Class of 1938) and City College of New York (Class of 1942), he contributed to the defense of the country through his work on the Manhattan Project at Columbia University. After World War II, he pursued his education at Wesleyan University, Connecticut with a research fellowship . He was elected a Fellow in Sigma Xi, the Science Research Society, and received a master’s degree in Chemistry in 1947. He also became a member ofthe American Chemical Society. On graduation, he accepted a research fellowship at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he received his Ph.D. degree in Physical Chemistry in 1951. While there he became a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His doctoral research and dissertation, under the supervision of Professor Arthur Frost, were in the field of quantum chemistry; he was the first chemistry graduate student at Northwestern to have a completely theoretical dissertation subject, with no experimental work. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington and then served as a professor at the University of Maine at Orono for twelve years. Dr. Braunstein transitioned to a research position in physical chemistry at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; his research focused on thermodynamics and electrochemistry of molten salts. His group’s work led to two patents and about one hundred articles in peer-reviewed journals. He was co-editor of a series of books, “Advances in Molten Salt Chemistry,” and chaired a Gordon Research Conference on Molten Salts. He retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory after over twenty-three years of service.
He was an opera aficionado. Over the past decades, he enjoyed operas in this country and in Europe. He had been a supernumerary (non-singing actor) in over a dozen Knoxville Opera productions. He served on the Board of the Knoxville Opera Guild, the University of Tennessee School of Music, and as co-director of the Middle and East Tennessee District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He taught courses on opera in the Oak Ridge Continued Learning program at the community college. His passion for music, love of learning, and fondness for his family were contagious and will outlive him. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Catherine Vallet Braunstein; three sons and their wives, Arthur and Renske Braunstein, David and Carol Braunstein, and Dr. Michael and Dr. Lori Braunstein; one daughter and her husband, Dr. Sarah and Jeffrey Woulfin, and six grandchildren, Rachel and Leah Braunstein, Eva Braunstein Kelley and Andrea Braunstein, Hannah Braunstein and Tobias Woulfin.