A native of Ohio, Brown did his undergraduate studies at the Ohio State University. He then earned a Ph.D. in 1999 from the University of California, Berkeley, under the supervision of Prof. Lars Bildsten (now a permanent member of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, UCSB). While at Berkeley, Brown was supported by a NASA Graduate Student Fellowship. Upon graduating, he was awarded an Enrico Fermi Fellowship at the University of Chicago, where he worked in the ASC Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes. In 2004, Brown moved to Michigan State University to join the Physics and Astronomy faculty, with a joint appointment in the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. He is affiliated with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, an NSF Physics Frontier Center. In 2018, Brown became Associate Chair of the Department of Computational Science, Mathematics, and Engineering at MSU.
Brown's research interests include stellar and nuclear astrophysics, especially related to compact objects and stellar explosions. In his free time he enjoys running and cycling.