hope college > academic departments > physics        

Faculty & Staff <
Program Information <
Facilities <
Student Research Opportunities <
Current Student Information <
Prospective Students <
News & Events <
Ask A Physicist <
Alumni Information <

Mark Brown

Senior Principal Scientist

Dr. Mark Brown has kept quite busy since graduating from Hope in 1977 with a Physics degree. After Hope, Brown went to the University of Michigan and earned a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering. He then did some work as a computer design engineer in Boston and Chicago before returning to Holland, where he taught Computer Science at Hope. Later, he returned to the University of Michigan to receive another Master’s degree and a PhD in bioengineering. He started with Medtronic, a medical technology company, where he now is as a Senior Principal Scientist in the Research Department of the Cardiac Rhythm and Disease Management division.

The major processes that Dr. Brown goes through in his area of work are first to invent ideas for implantablemedical devices and then to develop these ideas into testable concepts. He also reports and publishes the results of his developments and research, and advises other departments within Medtronic on future directions they should take based on the findings of his and his colleagues’ research. Brown says there is great satisfaction in this work because every day he is adding to Medtronic’s mission of contributing to human welfare through biomedical engineering.

Though sometimes it might be hard for us to comprehend the future value of a liberal arts education, Dr. Brown’s words on the subject are reassuring. Brown says, “While my physics, math, chemistry and biology classes honed my technical skills, the writing and thinking skills I developed in English and philosophy have been nearly as important to me.” Out in the real world, writing, communications, religion, sociology and philosophy are all an active part of Dr. Brown’s job and life, despite his science specialization.

For those of you who are near the end of your Hope education, don’t getready to throw away those books just yet. Dr. Brown wisely advises students, especially in technical fields, to think of Hope as the beginning of an education. Since technology is always rapidly changing, learning should be a lifelong process. Brown also says that it’s good to have a clear vision of what you want to do, but that we should remain open to God’s calling and let Him steer us in new directions. Throughout his education and life experiences, Dr. Brown has gained valuable insights, knowledge and experience— let his final words of advice for the future be an encouragement to you. “Ask lots of questions. Listen. Be an independent thinker. Do the right thing. Be bold and brave. Be passionate about your work.”