Scientific Biography of W.B.Lewis: the man behind CANDU and ING
fawcett at physics.utoronto.ca
Wed Aug 23 10:58:49 CDT 1995
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The Scientific Biography of Wilfrid Bennett Lewis.
NUCLEAR PURSUITS is the scientific biography of Wilfrid Bennett Lewis, the
physicist who dominated nuclear research and the development of nuclear power
in Canada for nearly three decades, from the end of World War II until his
retirement in 1973. The development of the CANDU reactor was his most
Born in England in 1908, Lewis earned a doctorate at Cavendish Laboratory in
1934 and continued his research on nuclear physics there until 1939. During
the war he worked on the development of radar and in 1945 became chief
superintendent of the Telecommunications Research Establishement at Malvern.
A year later he agreed to head Canada's fledgling nuclear research facility
at Chalk River, Ontario, where he made his professional home for the next
Lewis's drive, intelligence, and remarkable organizational skills placed him
at the forefront of Canada's nuclear program. Convinced that nuclear energy
could be used economically for generating electricity, Lewis fostered a
collaboration between Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and Ontario
Hydro that led to the development of the CANDU reactor. CANDU has proven to
be an efficient reactor whose performance compares very favourably with all
other power reactors around the world. Lewis's efforts in developing this
design, and his effective support of a strong tradition of basic reasearch,
are his most important legacies. Under his guidance, scientists at AECL
achieved excellence in a number of fields and the laboratories have
maintained those standards to the present.
Though not every project he promoted came to fruition, in particular
the Intense Neutron Generator, and he seemed never to recognize the political
aspects of the nuclear energy program, Lewis's influence on the development
of science, technology, and industry in Canada and abroad was unique and
profound. His story sheds new light on Canada's postwar science history,
debates concerning national science policy, and growing international
scientific collaborations. NUCLEAR PURSUITS will be of interest to a wide
audience, including scientists, engineers, historians of science and industry,
and students of postwar Canadian history.
"The life and career of W.B. Lewis is very much a part of the history of
science during an exciting age ... The biography is interesting, easy to
read, and instructive to the younger generation of scientists and engineers."
H.G. Thode, Department of Chemistry, McMaster University.
RUTH FAWCETT is a Research Officer in the Research Branch of the Library of
June 240 pp 6 x 9 Illustrated
cloth ISBN 0-7735-1186-5 CAN$37.95 = US$28
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