Philip E. Brown

Philip E. Brown
Emeritus Professor
Economic Geology
(608) 262-5954
Office: 365 Weeks Hall

Useful Links
Personal Home Page


My research interests focus on hydrothermal fluids throughout the crust and the ore deposits that form from, or are modified by, these fluids. Current interests include high-grade iron ores in Brazil, Australia and the Lake Superior region; both Carlin-type and low-sulfidation gold deposits in Nevada; PGE ores in the Duluth Complex and South Africa; and massive sulfide deposits in the U.S. and Canada. Fluid inclusions can provide direct samples of the causative fluids in all of these ore deposit types and continue to be an emphasis in many of my student’s studies. In addition laboratory work includes electron microprobe and SEM analyses, stable isotope analyses, and recently the magnetic properties of mafic igneous rocks.


I am strongly committed to the department’s undergraduate teaching mission and believe in the importance of getting out into the field as often as possible. I currently teach, either yearly or every other year:

115 – Science Behind the News: an on-line course for non-majors

360 – Mineralogy: a more focused mineralogy course that has replaced a one-semester Mineralogy-Petrology course

376 – Undergraduate Spring Break Field Trip: I commonly lead this 7-9 day trip for 10-20 students to places hopefully warmer than Wisconsin in March or early April – recent trips have gone to the southern Appalachians, New Mexico, Arizona, and Big Bend National Park.

410 – Minerals as a Public Problem: an economic geology course for non-majors (cross-listed with the Institute for Environmental Studies) that covers the basics of where do the building blocks of the modern world come from – everything from iron to gold to fertilizer to glass

457 – White Lake: a one-week mapping course in Ontario taught near the end of each spring semester. The 2 Ga Huronian rocks provide an excellent introduction to mapping slightly metamorphosed sediments – the department has been running this course for more than 60 consecutive years.

459 – Field Camp: The Geoscience department is the current administrative home for the Wasatch-Uinta Geology Field Camp – a 6-week long capstone experience for majors from UW as well as the consortium schools of Illinois, Michigan State and Minnesota-Duluth. Camp has been based in Park City, Utah since 1967 – I have been the director or co-director of the camp for the past six years.

515 – Economic Geology: A senior/first-year graduate level course providing an overview of important ore deposit types and the tools that modern scientists use to delve into their origins.


In the department I am one of the Undergraduate advisors, the Honors program contact person and have served on many other committees including being the Department Chair.

I have served on a large number of University-level committees including The University Committee (the executive or steering committee of the faculty senate) and I am currently on the Athletic Board – an oversight committee composed of faculty, academic staff, students and alumni that provide an interface between each of these constituencies and the Division of Intercollegiate Sports.

Off campus I currently serve on the NSF Graduate Fellowship review panel and am the chair of the Society of Economic Geology Foundation’s graduate research grant committee.