Brakke was a pioneer in virology and the biophysical properties of viruses. In 1950, he developed density gradient centrifugation, a tool that allowed for the purification of virus particles and ushered in a new era of virology and molecular biology research. Brakke worked with a diverse array of viruses, including Barley stripe mosaic, Potato yellow dwarf, Soilborne wheat mosaic, Tomato spotted wilt, and Wound tumor viruses. Brakke was awarded the Ruth Allen Award in 1968, was elected a fellow of APS in 1972, and received the Award of Distinction in 1988. He spent most of his career with the USDA-ARS at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
(Submitted for publication in July 2008.)