Herman Branson

Physicist from United States of America

Herman Russell Branson (August 14, 1914 – June 26, 1995) was an African-American physicist, best known for his research on the alpha helix protein structure, and was also the president of two colleges. Branson received his B.S. from Virginia State College in 1936, and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Cincinnati, under the direction of Boris Padowski, in 1939. After a stint at Dillard University, he joined Howard University in 1941 as an assistant professor of physics and chemistry. He remained at Howard for 27 years, achieving increasingly important positions, eventually becoming head of the physics department, director of a program in experimental science and mathematics, and working on the Office of Naval Research and Atomic Energy Commission Projects in Physics at Howard University. In 1948, Branson took a leave and spent time at the California Institute of Technology, in the laboratory of the chemist Linus Pauling. There he was assigned work on the structure of proteins, specifically to use his mathematical abilities to determine possible helical structures that would fit both the available X-ray crystallography data and a set of chemical restrictions outlined by  ( Wikipedia article )


Personal facts

Date of birth
United States of America


Institution From To
Virginia State University
University of Cincinnati


Date of death

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