He had a fascinating history and broad interests, as indicated in this summary from the Council for the Arts at MIT:
Born in South Africa, Claude Brenner arrived in New York with his family for a two-year stay ten days before Hitler invaded Poland. Atlantic crossings being unwise, the two years ultimately became nine. Brenner matriculated at MIT in June of 1944 at 15, receiving an SB in 1947 and an SM in 1948 in aeronautical engineering. He went home to South Africa and then on to Britain to a job with de Havilland Aircraft Company in Britain. Returning to this country, he embarked on a career that spanned aircraft design and performance, nuclear warfare, defense electronics, laser systems, renewable energy, and at the end a variety of other fields as a consultant.
Brenner is not retired. He is between engagements.
Claude loved MIT and contributed to its life in many ways.
As an undergraduate, Brenner sang in the Glee Club and acted in Dramashop, was editor-in-chief of The Tech, and a member of student government. He was elected president of his class and later president of the Alumni Association. He served a term on the Corporation and continues as a member of two visiting committees. He sang barbershop lead with the founding Logarhythms.
He was also active in Jewish matters on campus as the MIT Hillel Board Chairman and a founding member of MIT Hillel Foundation.
As chair of the MIT Museum's collections committee, he once invited people to contribute to a novel project. But please no slide rules (!), as he wrote in 2009:
Objects. Those are what matter. Sherry Turkle, Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, has determined that young people who choose a career in science or technology were first motivated by an object in their childhood. For me it was a trio of South African Airways Junkers Trimotors sitting on the tarmac at Johannesburg's Germiston (now Oliver R. Tambo) Airport in 1937 on a Sunday afternoon outing with my mother and sister when I was eight years old. The wonder of those machines sparked a passion for model airplanes and a determination to be an aeronautical engineer, an ambition fulfilled at MIT ten years later.
And objects are what matter to the MIT Museum. When the Corporation established the museum 38 years ago as the MIT Historical Collections, it was fondly referred to as the Attic of MIT. Generations of students rushed to donate a variety of objects, mostly that most iconic of all MIT artifacts, their slide rules. The slide rule somehow defined us. We had them engraved with our names. We carried them from class to class in their cases dangling from our belts. We even glorified them in our rousing cheers to inspire our teams to greater effort. You must remember "e to the x du dx, e to the x dx! Secant! Cosine! Tangent! Sine! 3.14159! Square root integral udv, slipstick, slide rule, MIT!" Many a team was spurred to victory by those words.
Deborah Douglas, the museum's curator of science and technology, is using this anniversary exhibition to experiment with some of the newest ideas in curatorial practice. She is inviting alumni-together with the larger MIT community-to help create this exhibition by nominating objects, commenting on objects, and sharing stories. In time this digital repository will become like OpenCourseWare, a boundless resource for those who want to learn about and engage with MIT. Now the museum will have a way of collecting numerous stories and connecting directly with you; and you, in turn, will connect with others.
So think on it. Perhaps that inspirational object from your happy days at the Institute? Or something from your profession? But please, no slide rules, unless it's really unusual, if not unique. In addition to robots, ship models, instruments, devices, hacks, and the world's largest collection of holography, the museum also holds one of the world's largest collections of slide rules.