Dr. Jeanette Grasselli Brown is pictured at the Great Lakes Science Center’s new periodic table exhibit. (Photographs courtesy of the Great Lakes Science Center)

A lifetime of dedication to science and education has brought a special honor to Northeast Ohio husband and wife scientists.
Great Lakes Science Center recently unveiled a new periodic table of chemical elements exhibit, thanks to a donation from the Northeastern Ohio Science and Engineering Fair (NEOSEF). NEOSEF donated the funds for the exhibit in honor of Dr. Glenn Brown and Dr. Jeanette Grasselli Brown.
“We are grateful to the entire board of NEOSEF for the wonderful gift in honor of Glenn and Jenny,” said Dr. Kirsten Ellenbogen, Great Lakes Science Center president. “We are especially grateful to NEOSEF President OanhLoi-Powell for her work to make this ambitious tribute happen.”
The legacy of the Brown’s board service is one of leadership and strategic partnership. Glenn, a chemical engineer and senior vice president at Standard Oil, was instrumental in the merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve College, and served on more than 20 boards as chairman of the Playhouse Square Foundation. He passed away in May, 2021.
The Browns had a strong leadership role with NEOSEF and were instrumental in bringing the organization into a partnership with the science center to host the International Science and Engineering Fair when it came to Cleveland in 2003. When the organization began looking for a gift to honor the legacy of the Browns, their board agreed it was only fitting for them to have a presence at the science center, a place that Jenny, an analytic chemist, helped found, going back to the formation of the nonprofit organization in 1991 before the building even opened. Jenny served as a science center board member for many years, eventually being named Board Member Emeritus.
“Jeanette Grasselli Brown and Glenn Brown are acclaimed in the region as scientists and leaders. They are known for a broad range of work in the community and have played a particularly transformative role in science education for Northeast Ohio,” Ellenbogen said. “They have been treasured in the community because they don’t just serve on boards. They have developed and led transformative projects and initiatives. For example, Jenny wasn’t just a founding board member of the Great Lakes Science Center. She was also on the committee that came together years before that led to the founding of the science center. And then, in her many years on the board of the science center, Jenny championed projects like the creation of a regional collaboration around water that eventually spun off as its own non-profit, the Cleveland Water Alliance. We could fill pages with examples of other generative initiatives Jenny and Glenn have led over the years.”
“While so many of us were mourning the death of Glenn in May, the board of NEOSEF was tremendously thoughtful and came together to find a perfect way to honor Glenn and Jenny, who were both longtime trustees and leaders on the NEOSEF board. Glenn and Jenny were instrumental in bringing NEOSEF into partnership with the science center to host the International Science and Engineering Fair to bring it to Cleveland in 2003. It is a huge feat to host that international event, and it created a bond between our organizations that is still strong today,” she noted. “So, the science center was especially honored that NEOSEF came to us to find a way to create a long-lasting tribute to Glenn and Jenny. The periodic table is a natural fit, given the esteemed careers of Glenn as a chemical engineer and Jenny as an analytic chemist and spectroscopist. And thinking of the best way to honor them, the periodic table resonates as such a foundational part of the scientific discipline, with impressive predictive power. The exhibit has provided a terrific leap forward for the science center’s effort to integrate chemistry into our programs and galleries.”
The periodic table exhibit is on the second floor of the Great Lakes Science Center in the Science Phenomena gallery. The larger-than-life exhibit allows families to explore chemical elements, their interconnections, and how they are used in everyday life. The science center installed this new exhibit alongside the PPG Demo Lab, where frequent chemistry workshops allow guests and school groups to experiment with diverse topics such as polymer chemistry, spectrometry, acid/base reactions and stoichiometry.
NEOSEF is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization, whose goal is to get young adults interested in science and engineering by participating in a science and engineering competition. “Students in grades seven through 12 from public, private, parochial and home school in a seven-county area across the region submit their projects on Feb. 11 for the 69th annual Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair which culminates in a live stream of the award ceremony on Mar. 17,” Ellenbogen said. “In previous years, the event has taken place at Cleveland State University. It is usually a four-day, in-person event, where approximately 600 students from more than 80 schools set up their science fair displays, discuss their projects with 260-plus judges and compete for more than $20,000 in prizes. Top winners of this fair go on to compete in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair for ninth and twelfth graders, or the Broadcom Masters Program competition for seventh- and eighth-graders.”
Great Lakes Science Center, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, is home to the NASA Glenn Visitor Center and makes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) come alive for more than 300,000 visitors a year through hundreds of hands-on exhibits, temporary exhibitions, the Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater, historic Steamship William G. Mather, daily science demonstrations and seasonal camps. Visit www.greatscience.com for more information.