Some Biographical Sketches of Interesting Canadian Scientists With Naval Links

by John M. MacFarlane 2014

Charles Herbert Best

Surgeon Captain Charles Herbert Best RCN(R)

Commander Edward D. Ashe (RN) was born about 1813 at Bath UK. He entered the Royal Navy in 1830. He served as Mate of H.M.S. Daphne in 1837. In 1842 he was appointed as a Lieutenant RN and served at H.M.S. Excellent. He served in H.M.S. Daphne in 1843 on the Pacific Station. He served as Fifth Lieutenant on board H.M.S. Fisgard on the Pacific Station 1844–1847. He was appointed as a Commander RN on the retired list in 1865. Ashe was crippled in a shipboard accident in 1849 but was kept on the active list by taking appointments ashore. He took over a new observatory at Quebec in 1850 with the duties of observing star transits and carrying out the daily time–ball drop. He published widely on his astronomical research, one of the first Canadians to do so. He was retired in 1866.

Lieutenant Professor Sir George S. Bain (RCN(R)) served in the University Naval Training Division while he attended university and retired as a Lieutenant RCN(R). After his naval service he was appointed as a Lecturer in Economics at the University of Manitoba 1962–1963. He was a Resident Fellow in Industrial Relations at Nuffield College Oxford 196–1969. He worked at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and Warwick University, where he was Chairman of the School of Industrial and Business Studies before becoming Principal of the London Business School in 1989. He was President and Vice–Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast 1998–2004 and Professor Emeritus. He was knighted for his contributions to the economy of the United Kingdom.

Surgeon Captain Charles Herbert Best (RCN(R)) was born in 1899 in West Pembroke Maine USA. With Frederick Banting he was the co–discoverer of Insulin and at the time was a household name known by every school child in Canada. He did not receive the same level of recognition as his colleague Sir Frederick Banting (who received the Nobel Prize for Medicine) and some historians feel that Best should have been awarded the Nobel Prize for his part in the discovery of Insulin. In 1943 Best was appointed as a Surgeon Commander (RCNVR). and then as an A/Surgeon Captain (RCNVR) and served in Naval Service HQ as Director of Medical Research. He was appointed as a Surgeon Captain (RCNVR) in 1945 and was demobilized and appointed as a Surgeon Captain RCN(R). He was highly decorated later in life, in recognition of his great achievements in science. He was appointed as a Companion of the Order of Canada, a Companion of Honour, a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He was presented with the Legion of Merit (United States), the King Haakon VII Liberation Cross (Norway) and was appointed as a Commander of the Order of the Crown (Belgium).

Lieutenant–Commander Harcourt Leslie Cameron (RCN(R)) was born in 1912 in Westmount QC. He was appointed as a Lieutenant (S.B.) RCN(R) (With seniority dated 18/01/1956). He was appointed as an A/Lieutenant–Commander RCN(R) (WHA) (With seniority dated 19/01/1956). He served in HMCS Scotian as Commanding Officer UNTD (Acadia University) 1963. (He was released.) He graduated from Acadia University in 1937. During the Second World War he worked with the Department of Munitions and Supply. In 1945 he graduated with an MSc from McGill University. He was a Professor of Geology at Acadia University and Head of the Geology Department in 1958. He was a pioneer in the use of Side–Looking Radar in military aircraft in analyzing bedrock geologic formations to reveal structures related to plate tectonics. He was an authority on photogrametry involving high altitude photographs. He was also an authority on aerial photograph interpretation. In 1948 he was the Director of the Photogrametry Division of the Nova Scotia Research Foundation. He developed a method of determining water current speed using time lapse photography. In 1963–1965 he headed a project with NASA and with the National Research Council and the Defence Research Board.

Ordinary Seaman (Officer Candidate UNTD) Robert Smith Codrington (RCNVR) He served as an Ordinary Seaman (UNTD Officer Candidate) (RCNVR) and graduated from the University of British Columbia, receiving a BA (1946) in Physics and an MA (1948) in Physics and Mathematics. From 1945 until 1947 he was an instructor in Physics at the University of British Columbia. In 1948 he received a U.S. Navy Scholarship to the University of Notre Dame where his PhD thesis published in 1951 was the first detailed study of the motion in large organic molecules using nuclear magnetic resonance. In the period 1951–54 he was an Assistant Research Specialist at Rutgers University Physics Department and a junior member of the Estermann Committee of the Office of Naval Research concerned with the development of magnetic resonance type submarine detectors. He was also an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Rutgers. In 1954 he joined the Schlumberger Corporation to continue work on magnetic devices and built a number of NMR instruments one of which became the prototype of an NMR Analyzer widely used in the food industry. He joined Varian Associated in Palo Alto in 1962 and the family moved to Los Altos Hills where he spent the rest of his life. He continued to work in the field of the NMR with Varian and in 1984 became project manager for a new Varian venture to combine NMR spectroscopy and NMR imaging for medical diagnostic use, creating what we know today as the MRI. After retirement he became an independent consultant in biophysics and radiology. He has been an adjunct professor of biophysics and radiology in the University of California System and a special lecturer at Universities around the world.

Naval Cadet (UNTD) Arthur E. Collin (RCN(R)) served in HMCS Prevost in 1949. He was an Oceanographer and was appointed as a Research Scientist with the Fisheries Research Board of Canada in 1955. He was made a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America in 1963. He was the Dominion Hydrographer from 1967–1972 (the youngest appointee to the position at 38). He was appointed as Assistant Deputy Minister, Fisheries Research. He was appointed as Assistant Deputy Minister, Atmospheric Environment Service 1977–1980. He was appointed as Associate Deputy Minister, Department of Energy Mines and Resources. He was appointed as Science Advisor to the Government of Canada and Secretary of the Minister of State for Science and Technology 1984. He was President of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2004.

Lieutenant (L) (A/R) Peter Allan Forsyth (RCN(R)) was born in Prince Albert SK in 1922. He served in the RCNVR with the RN Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War. After his naval service he worked for the Defence Research board of Canada as Superintendent of the Radio Physics Laboratory. He served as a Professor at the University of Saskatchewan. He served as at the Director of the centre for Radio Science at the University of Western Ontario. He served as the Director of the Space Science Coordination Office at the National Research Council in Ottawa ON.

Lieutenant David Phillip Jackson (RCN(R)) was living in Toronto ON at the time of his recruitment into the navy. After obtaining his PhD. in Engineering Physics from the University of Toronto in 1968, he joined Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd as a scientist at Chalk River Laboratories doing research in particle solid interactions phenomena including plasma–wall interactions. He has held a number of university and visiting scientist positions including a year as visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. From 1987–1997 he was Director of Canada’s national fusion program. He has represented Canada on a number of senior international committees including the International Fusion Research Council of the International Atomic Energy Agency of which he served as chair from, 1993 to 1998 and continues to represent Canada on the International Energy Agency’s Fusion Power Coordinating Committee. He is a past President of the Canadian Nuclear Society and was a Director of the Canadian Nuclear Association. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Engineering Physics at McMaster University and consults on nuclear and energy topics through his company.

Sub–Lieutenant Thomas Bernardus Henricus Kuiper (RCN(R)) was born in Montreal. He served in the University Naval Training Division retiring in 1967 as a Sub–Lieutenant RCN(R). After his naval service he worked as a Research Scientist at the Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory in CA USA. He worked with the NASA Deep Space Network Sunset as Astronomy Manager. He is a radio astronomer with experience in spectral line studies of atoms and molecules in interstellar clouds and circumstellar envelopes, in low frequency radio studies of the Sun, and in interferometry and aperture synthesis. His current (2013) research concentrates on precursors to star formation. He obtained a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Maryland, College Park. He joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) staff in 1975, after a two year tenure as a National Research Council Resident Research Associate. He was a founding member of the JPL study team that originated the concept of the Large Deployable Reflector (Gulkis, Kuiper and Swanson 1978). He was also a member of the first team to conduct a millimeter wave spectral line investigation with the NASA G.P. Kuiper Airborne Observatory, and subsequently a principal investigator in that program.

Electrical Sub–Lieutenant (Anti–Submarine) Jack Lambourne Locke (RCNVR) was born in 1921 in Brantford ON. He was appointed as an Electrical Sub-Lieutenant (Anti–Submarine) (RCNVR) in 1942. In 1946 after his naval service he attended the University of Toronto. He worked as an Astrophysicist at the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa in 1949 and was appointed as the Chief of the Stellar Physics Division in 1959. He was the Officer–in–Charge of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory at Penticton BC. In 1966 he was a Radio Astronomer in the Radio & Electrical Engineering Division at the National rEsearch Council. He was the Associate Director of the Division in 1970. He was the first Director of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics 1975–1985.

Surgeon Captain Walter Campbell MacKenzie (RCN(R)) was born in 1909. He was President in 1963 of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He was a professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine. From 1959 to 1973, he was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. In 1949, he was a founding director and shareholder of the Edmonton Eskimos. In 1970, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "for his contribution to surgery and medical education". The Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre in Edmonton, Alberta is named in his honour.

Sub–Lieutenant Arthur William May (RCN(R)) was born in St. John’s Newfoundland. He served in the University Naval Training Division retiring in 1958 as a Sub–Lieutenant RCN(R). He was the President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada 1986–1990. He was the President of Memorial University (Newfoundland) 1990–1999. He was the first Chairman of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), the first Canadian Commissioner of the Canada/US Pacific Salmon Commission, and the Canadian representative on the NATO Science Committee.

Lieutenant–Commander James Ross McFarlane (RCN) was born in Winnipeg MB. After his naval service he had a distinguished career in Engineering. He joined International Hydrodynamics as Vice-President of Engineering and Operations. In 1974 he became President and Founder of International Submarine Engineering Ltd. after retirement. He earned a BSc in mechanical engineering from UNB in 1960, and a MSC in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from MIT. He was a recipient of the Ernest C. Manning Award For Innovation 1987, the Professional Engineers of British Columbia Meritorious Achievement Award 1987, the British Columbia Science and Engineering Gold Medal in 1989, the Julian C. Smith Medal in 1990 and the Angus Medal in 1995.

Electrical Lieutenant–Commander Andrew McKellar (RCNVR) was born in 1910 in Vancouver BC. He worked as an Astronomer at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria from 1935–1939 and 1945–1960. He was considered to have been one of Canada’s greatest astronomers. In 1940, he began using spectroscopy to determine the composition of comets and demonstrated that solar rays modify their spectra. in 1940, he was the first to detect the presence of matter in interstellar space when he identified the spectrum of the organic compounds cyanogen ("CN") and methyne ("CH"). In 1941, he determined the temperature of the cyanogen molecules and deduced that the interstellar medium in which they are found is very cold, approximately –271°C. In 1948, he was the first to provide proof of the existence of the carbon–nitrogen cycle within cold carbon stars. The CN cycle, which had been predicted 10 years earlier, is a chain of thermonuclear reactions in which carbon and nitrogen combine to release enormous amounts of energy. According to the theory, it is this energy that sustains cold carbon stars. During the Second World War he served as an Electrical Lieutenant–Commander (RCNVR) and in 1944 he placed on indefinite leave to pursue his astronomical research. In 1962, the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria named their 1.2–metre telescope in his honour. The telescope is used to measure the speed of stars and to determine their chemical compositions.

Rear–Admiral Simon Newcomb (USN) was born in 1835 in Wallace Nova Scotia. His ancestors had settled in Canada in 1761. The son of a school teacher he grew up in several villages in the Maritimes. In 1852 he moved to the United States and graduated from Harvard University (Lawrence Scientific School) with a BSc. in Mathematics. In 1854-56 was engaged as a teacher in Maryland. He was an astronomer, mathematician and economist. In 1857 he worked as a computer of the U.S. Navy’s Nautical Almanac Office in Washington DC. He received Honorary Degrees from seventeen of the world’s best universities. He wrote "The Reminiscences of an Astronomer" in 1903. In Wallace Nova Scotia there is a monument to his memory. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC. His stone in section 1 of the Cemetery reads "Professor of Mathematics, United States Navy, 1835-1909. The heavens declare this glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork." In 1861 he was appointed as Professor of Mathematics at the United States Navy and assigned to duty at the Naval Observatory in Washington. He was appointed, late in life, as a Rear–Admiral USN. He served as Professor of Mathematics in the U.S. Navy and retired as Rear-Admiral. He also was appointed as Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at the John Hopkins University. He served as the editor of the American Journal of Mathematics and was the first president of the American Astronomical Society. He received the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Copley Medal of the Royal Society, as well as the Schubert Prize of the Imperial Academy of Sciences of Russia. He wrote over 540 books and papers. His most important work was in developing tables of astronomical constants. His tables of data concerning the movements of the Sun, Mercury, Uranus, and Neptune played a big part in the development of a universal system of astronomical standards. He was assigned to duty at the United States naval observatory in Washington. There he negotiated the contract for the 26–inch equatorial telescope authorized by Congress, supervised its construction, and planned the tower and dome in which it is mounted. In 1871 he was appointed secretary of the commission that was created by congress for the purposes of observing the transit of Venus on 9 December, 1874, which organized the expeditions that were sent out by the United States government. He visited the Saskatchewan region in 1860 to observe an eclipse of the sun, and in 1870–71 was sent to Gibraltar for a similar purpose, and in 1882 he observed the transit of Venus at the Cape of Good Hope. Meanwhile in 1877 he became senior professor of mathematics in the United States Navy, with the relative rank of captain, and since that time has been in charge of the office of the "American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac." A large corps of civilian assistants in Washington and elsewhere, as well as officers of the navy who are detailed to that office, work under his direction. In addition to these duties, in 1884 he became professor of mathematics and astronomy in Johns Hopkins, where he has charge of the graduate students in astronomy. Professor Newcomb has been intimately associated with the equipment of the Lick observatory of California, and examined the glass of the great telescope and its mounting before its acceptance by the trustees. In 1945 the AGS–14 USS Simon Newcomb was named for him by the US Navy.

Sub–Lieutenant Edmond M. Reeves (RCN(R)) was born in London ON in 1934. He was an astronomer in civilian life. He did his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Western Ontario [UWO]. He was leader of solar space research projects at Harvard College Observatory [HCO] and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. was appointed Senior Research Associate at HCO, and in 1973 he received a joint appointment as Physicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory [SAO] when the Centre for Astrophysics was initiated under George Field. During his seventeen years at the Observatory, he led a large and vibrant group of engineers and scientists in the Solar Satellite Project, developing a series of space missions to explore the extreme ultraviolet emission from the Sun. In 1978, he joined the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado, where he was Head of Administration and Support before moving to NASA Headquarters in 1982. There he became Director of the Flight Systems Office in the Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications, with responsibility for integrated planning and science operations for research using the Spacelab, Spacehab, and Mir missions.

Sub–Lieutenant Kenneth Roy Rozee (RCN(R)) was born in Halifax NS in 1931. He served in the University Naval Training Division retiring as a Sub–Lieutenant RCN(R). He taught virology as a Professor at the University of Toronto and at Dalhousie University. He completed a research fellowship at Warwick University, UK, a Killam Fellowship at Calgary University and a fellowship in Public Health Administration at Harvard University. He was for many years Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology at Dalhousie and the Director of Medical Microbiology at the then Pathological Institute in the Victoria General Hospital. Following these appointments, Dr. Rozee became Director of the Bureau of Microbiology, Laboratory Centre for Disease Control Department of Health in Ottawa. He also contributed to the design of the International Centre for Infectious Diseases in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Returning to Halifax, he was the founding CEO/COO of the Centre for Clinical Research at the Victoria General Hospital as it became part of the developing Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre. In retirement he was appointed the honour of Professor Emeritus in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Dalhousie University. He was the founding Chairman of the Canadian College of Microbiologists in 1974 and in later years served as Registrar and was awarded their Distinguished Service Award in 2004. He was President and served on the Board of the Canadian Association for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. He was frequently a chairman and member of many Medical Research Councils, National Health Research and Defense Research Board research advisory committees.

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2014) Some Biographical Sketches of Interesting Canadian Scientists With Naval Links. 2014.

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