Howard T. Brady

M.S. Geology, 1977

Dr. Howard T. BradyDr. Howard Brady nurtures his spirit and curiosity with careers that aren’t ordinarily associated with each other. From Catholic priest and high school science teacher to research scientist, businessman, and servant of the community, Dr. Brady excels.

As Honorary U.S. Navy Chaplain for Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica (1975), he became interested in climate change, which brought him to NIU. Inspired by NIU’s world-renowned Antarctic paleoclimate expert, Professor Peter Webb, and encouraged by Professor Lyle McGinnis, Dr. Brady earned his M.S. degree in Geology in 1977. He then returned to his homeland and completed his Ph.D. at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia (1980). Dr. Brady has said that “the real beginning of my scientific career was at NIU.”

Dr. Brady is internationally recognized for his identification and naming of several species of algae currently used to help trace the climate history of Antarctica. Professor Ross Powell, observes the continuing influence of Brady’s research, “The notable Antarctic marine diatom fossil called Thalassiosira torokina, which Dr. Brady named as part of his M.S. thesis, is currently being studied by Professor Reed Scherer’s students.”

In what Dr. Brady considers his most innovative paper, he illumined the formation of salts under freezing ice shelves and their subsequent “injection like toothpaste” onto the top of the Ross Ice Shelf (first noted in the early 1900s). Such creative applications of knowledge in many areas have led to solutions evading others for decades.

Dr. Brady has had influence in the Australian business world, as well. As founder and Chief Executive of Mosaic Oil, from which he retired in 2005, he led the company to become a significant gas producer for southern Queensland in less than twenty years. In addition, he managed a granite company through financial difficulty to fulfill contracts to beautify Sydney plazas for the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Public and education sectors have also recognized Dr. Brady’s contributions. In 2005, Chevalier College dedicated the “Howard Brady Science Wing.” Recently, his research and field work on coastal processes has challenged conventional wisdom. One member of State Parliament noted that concerns Dr. Brady raised have allowed for “a more informed debate.” An education administrator in Sydney says, “I have cooperated with Howard in his quest to have Local Government Councils pursue scientific reasoning and methodologies in regional planning” and praises “his intellectual ability…clear reasoning…and civic involvement.”

Dr. Brady notes, his ambition is “[to] keep addressing the challenges of our times in the scientific and wider communities to the best of [my] ability.”