The younger son of Mr Hugh A. Brown, the Paisley headmaster, he was educated at Allan Glen's School in Glasgow. At that time: the school was in charge of Dr John G Kerr and thus the early scientific background in Brown's education largely determined his future career. Graduating with Honours in Mathematics and Physics at Glasgow University in 1907, he took a B.Sc. in Pure Science three years later.
In 1914 he went, as a lecturer, to the recently founded University of Hong Kong and during the years of the First Great War acted as Professor of Mathematics and Engineering. With these university duties he coupled the task of supervising the defences of Hong Kong harbour.
Continuing his professorial work in the inter-war years, Professor Brown was interned later by the Japanese when Hong Kong fell to their armies in the Second World War. During his period of detention in Stanley Camp he organized numerous study groups to detract from the tedium of an enforced cloistered life. Characteristically, he was very active also in looking to the medical needs of the internees. When hostilities ceased, the University was re-established and Professor Brown retired after a lifetime of service to education in the Far East.
Despite his retirement he continued to travel the vast reaches of the Amazon, the Great Rift Valley and the Patagonian wilds were all scrutinized in recent years.
Many were the Guilds and Literary Societies that benefited from the wide knowledge and keen insight that he had acquired during his extensive wanderings.
It was during a further tour of South Africa and Rhodesia that he was called to travel on his final journey, from the home at Marandellas, near Salisbury, of a former Hong Kong colleague. Our sympathy is extended to his two sisters who survive him.
Professor Brown became an Associate Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1920 and was elected a Fellow of this Society in 1923.