Profile: Richard Brown
Among his many duties, Mississippi Entomological Museum director Richard Brown demonstrates the figure-eight worker bee dance of honeybees and holds giant, hissing cockroaches in his hands. He loves showing groups of children (and adults) the wonders of the world.
"We're all a part of nature," Brown said, standing close to a bee colony near the museum.
Brown's fascination with insects and insect-like critters began when he was a 10-year-old boy growing up in northwestern Arkansas. More than 50 years later, his interest remains just as strong.
After graduating with a doctorate in entomology from Cornell University, the MSU professor has spent decades researching the world of moths. He also has taught many students the fundamentals of taxonomy and other important entomological principles.
The museum includes butterflies, beetles, moths, and other specimens from all over Mississippi, the nation, and other countries. It even holds an expansive and colorful private butterfly collection of an MSU alumnus.
Working with students and fellow researchers at the university, Brown has regular interaction with other entomologists to help identify types of bugs collected. While insects in nature can be fun to learn about, research on them may help unlock key scientific discoveries that can benefit the world through medicine and other important fields.
Brown understands that a lifetime of examining insects may not appeal to everyone. However, he has discovered a fulfilling career, one moth at a time.
"They're not for everybody, but these creatures bring delight to the world," Brown said.
Next week … Kim Cottrell !