Thomas D. Brock

Picture of Thomas D. Brock

E.B. Fred Professor of Natural Sciences Emeritus
University of Wisconsin-Madison

1227 Dartmouth Rd.
Madison, WI 53705 USA

Phone: (608) 238-5050


Overview · Publications

Tom's Blog


Born, Cleveland, Ohio, Sept. 10, 1926. Married to Katherine Serat Middleton. Two children, Emily Katherine Brock and Brian Thomas Brock.

Tom's Wikipedia Page


  • B.Sc. (cum laude)  1949; M.Sc. 1950; Ph.D. 1952; all Ohio State University
  • Research Microbiologist, The Upjohn Co., 1952-1957
  • Assistant Professor, Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University), 1957-1959
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Medicine, Western Reserve University, 1959-1960
  • Assistant Professor of Bacteriology, Indiana University, 1960-1961; Associate Professor, 1962-1964; Professor of Microbiology, 1965-1971
  • E.B. Fred Professor of Natural Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1971-1990. E.B. Fred Professor of Natural Sciences Emeritus, 1990-present.
  •  Chairman: Dept. of Bacteriology, UW-Madison, 1980-1984
  • President, Science Tech Publishers, 1982-1994
  • Manager, Pleasant Valley Conservancy State Natural Area, 1995-present
  • Manager, Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie State Natural Area, 2000-present.

Honors: Educational

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Bachelor of Science Cum Laude

Honors: Professional

  • Research Career Development Awardee, National Institutes of Health, 1962-1968
  • Fellow American Association for Advancement of Sciences
  • Honorary Member, American Society for Microbiology
  • 60-year member, American Society for Microbiology
  • Fisher Award in Environmental and Applied Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, 1984
  • Carski Award for Distinguished Teaching, American Society for Microbiology, 1988
  • Pasteur Award, American Society for Microbiology (Illinois Branch) 1992
  • Bergey Medal, Bergey's Trust, 1997
  • Biography published in Who's Who in America; 1990-present
  • Waksman Award for Distinguished Teaching, Society for Industrial Microbiology, 2003.
  • Golden Goose Award, American Assocation of Universities, 2013
  • Joseph Sullivant Medal, Ohio State University, 2015

Honors: Restoration Ecology Awards (all joint with Katherine M. Brock)

  • Bur Oak Award of the Blue Mounds Area Project 2004
  • Aldo Leopold Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum 2006
  • Prairie Enthusiast of the Year Award from The Prairie Enthusiasts 2007
  • Invader Crusader Award, Governor's Council on Invasive Species, 2007
  • Cliff Germain Award for Excellence in Community-Based Restoration; Madison Audubon Society, 2009

Government activities: Consultant and/or member of numerous government and national panels in the following agencies

  • National Science Foundation (General Ecology Panel)
  • Federal Water Quality Administration; Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Mineral Resources and the Environment
  • National Academy of Sciences, Safe Drinking Water Committee (chair of the Microbiology Subcommittee)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • National Institutes of Health

Work on the Committee on Mineral Resources and the Environment (National Research Council, NAS)

Member of  the Committee on Mineral Resources and the Environment, NRC-NAS, that did pioneering work on the environmental impact of  mining and petroleum production in the early 1970s. This work led to the publication of a major report: Mineral Resources and the Environment, 378 pp., published in 1975.

Work on the Safe Drinking Water Committee (National Research Council)

Member of the Safe Drinking Water Committee (National Research Council, NAS), and chairman of the Microbiology subcommittee. The Safe Drinking Water Committee was charged by Congress to develop standards for drinking water in the United States. Microbiology standards, especially for disease-causing bacteria, were a major part of the charge of this committee. The book-len gth publication from 1977 is still in print from the National Academies Press.


Over 300 research publications in the fields of microbial ecology, microbial physiology, molecular biology, general microbiology, limnology, oceanography, aquatic microbiology, biogeochemistry, microbial diversity, and the history of microbiology. See Bibliography

Books written

Over 20 books in the areas of general microbiology, microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, and the history of microbiology and genetics.  See Bibliography

Biology of Microorganisms Textbook

Biology of Microorganisms (Prentice-Hall, now Pearson Education), first published in 1970, is now in its 14th edition and is the most widely used microbiology textbook in the United States and throughout the world. It has been translated into 12 languages:

  • Basque
  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Italian (2 editions)
  • Japanese (several editions)
  • Korean (two editions)
  • Malaysian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish (several editions)
  • Turkish


Research work funded by various federal agencies: National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army, and the Department of Energy. Recent research in restoration ecology funded by the Savanna Oak Foundation, Inc.

  • Mycology
  • Mode of action of antibiotics
  • Yeast physiology and genetics
  • Streptococcus genetics and biochemistry
  • Marine microbiology
  • Microbial ecology
  • Life at high temperatures and extremophiles
  • Hypersaline environments
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Computerized typesetting and publication
  • History of microbiology and bacterial genetics
  • Post-retirement research: Restoration ecology; Oak savanna biology; Fire-dependent ecosystems; Invasive plant species