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Tom Brock, who discovered world-changing extremophiles, dies at 94

Photo of Tom Brock courtesy of UW–Madison University Communications.

Tom Brock, a pioneering microbiologist who redefined the bounds of life, passed away at his home in Madison in April from complications following a fall. He was 94.

Brock spent most of his scientific career at the University of Wisconsin–Madison as the E. B. Fred Professor of Natural Sciences in the Department of Bacteriology. He also chaired the department from 1980 to 1983.

Brock is widely known for opening a new field of biology studying extremophiles — the microorganisms that survive the harshest conditions on Earth. He was the first to discover bacteria growing at nearly boiling temperatures in Yellowstone National Park.

Continue reading about Brock’s life in his UW–Madison obituary. For more, read his New York Times obituary.