Ralph James Brodd was born in Moline Illinois on September 8, 1928. He obtained a BA in chemistry from Augustana College in 1950 and an MA and Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Texas in 1953 and 1955 respectively. He won the Corrosion Division Student Essay Contest in 1954.
Dr. Brodd joined the National Bureau of Standards in 1955 and worked in the areas of standard cells, kinetics of battery-related reactions, and internal impedance of batteries. He taught physical chemistry in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School from 1956 to 1961, and lectured in electrochemistry at Georgetown University (1961) and American University (1958). In 1961, Dr. Brodd joined LTV Research Center as Senior Scientist, and was appointed head of the Energy Sources Section in 1962, which included fuel cell and plasma physics. He joined Union Carbide in 1963. He became group leader in 1965 and technical manager in 1966. In 1978, he joined ESB which became INCO ElectroEnergy, Inc. as Director of Technology.
Dr. Brodd worked in many areas of electrochemical power sources: primary and rechargeable batteries, including porous electrodes, exploratory new concepts, separator, lithium batteries, fuel cells, oxygen electrodes, and zinc-air batteries, and fundamental electrode properties. His technical work resulted in the publication of over 25 technical papers, three book chapters, and one patent.
Dr. Brodd held offices in Washington Capital and Cleveland Sections of the Society. In 1971, he received the Heise Award from the Cleveland Section. He was general chairman of the MnO2 Symposium sponsored by the International Common Sample Office in 1975. He was chairman of the Council of Sections, the Battery Division, and Honors and Awards Committee. He also served on the Education and Contributing Membership Committees, and was Chairman of the 75th Year Anniversary Celebration ad hoc committee.
Dr. Brodd was elected Vice-President of the Society in 1978. He served as President for the term 1981-1982 and was made an Honorary Member of the Society in 1987. He also served the Society as representative to the Intersociety Energy Commerce and Engineering Conference and a Battery Division Editor. He was national secretary for the International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE). He was chair of the 1979 Gordon Conference in Electrochemistry and secretary of the National Advisory ad hoc Battery Committee to EDRA. He was a member of ISE, ACS, AAAS, Chemical Society (London), American Institute of Chemists, Sigma Xi, and the New York Academy of Science.