Edward J. Brenner was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, on June 26, 1923. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin. 

He served in the U.S. Army and was a member of the radiological safety team for the Bikini Atoll nuclear bomb tests. He was an engineer and patent attorney with Standard Oil of New Jersey’s Esso Research and Engineering Co., where he became assistant director of the legal division.

President Lyndon Johnson appointed Brenner commissioner of patents, and he took the oath of office on March 11, 1964.

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