Miklos (Miki) Breuer of Brookline MA died peacefully on May 14th 2017. He was 90 years old and had been living at the Newbridge on the Charles nursing home for the past two years.
Miki was born in Hungary in 1927. After surviving the war years, he studied Chemical Engineering at the Technical University in Budapest (1945-1949). In 1949 he escaped from Stalinist Hungary by swimming a river and immigrated to Israel. On arrival in Israel he worked for ten months in a (then) small Pharmaceutical Firm (Teva) and then enrolled in a M.Sc. program in Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1953, after completing his service in the Israeli Army, he joined the Weizmann Institute of Science where he received a Ph.D. degree in Polymer Chemistry (1958). At the Weitzmann Insitute, he also met his first wife, Esther Mond, a British chemist. They were married in 1957 and raised two children (Judy and Kenny). She died in 1985 of breast cancer.
After two years as a Post-doctoral fellow at Rutgers University in the USA, Miki moved to Britain where he worked for the Gillette Co. in Reading, pursuing basic research on the chemistry of hair and in polymer chemistry. In 1963, he joined Unilever Research Laboratory in Isleworth (outside London), eventually rising to Divisional Manager.
In 1974, Miki was invited by Gillette to join their Corporate Research in the USA. Working both in Rockville MD and in Boston MA, he directed long-term research projects associated with toiletry products (hair, deodorants, antiperspirants, skin, etc.) When Gillette bought Oral-B, he started and then managed the Oral Care Department of the Company's Corporate Research Division. Amongst other developments, he was responsible for the research and development of the blue stripe on the toothbrush that indicates excessive wear.
He retired from Gillette at age 65 (1992), but continued to consult for several years, both for Gillette and for other companies.
During his career, Miki taught courses in Fiber Science and Colloid Chemistry at a number of universities. He published some 100 scientific papers, several books and book chapters, and held more than twenty-five patents. He was a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chemistry and recipient of the Navarre Medal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. In 2007 his children published his memoirs, "My Twentieth Century".
Miki is survived by his wife, Joann Green Breuer, whom he married in 1997, his daughter, Judy Breuer of London, UK and his son Kenny Breuer of Boston, USA. He has four grandchildren living in the UK and USA.