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E.W.R. Steacie and the NRC Post-doctoral Fellowship program. (Milestones of Canadian Chemistry in the 20th Century the 1940's).

Edgar William Richard (Ned) Steacie became Director of the Division of Chemistry at the National Research Council of Canada in 1939, and its president in 1952. Throughout his career at NRC Steacie sought to strengthen research in Canada, not only at the Council, but at Canadian universities and many government laboratories. One of the ways he managed to do this was through his conception of, and impetus to, a scheme of National Research Council Post-doctoral Fellowships. These fellowships, begun in 1948, lasted until 1975 when they were replaced by a new program of Research Associateships. They brought young scientists from all over the world (including Canada) to Ottawa for a year or two. The wartime destruction of so many research facilities and libraries throughout Europe was certainly an important factor in the program s success.

At the start they were restricted to the Division of Chemistry where 19 were appointed during the first year; Physics and Applied Biology soon followed. In 1953, the Division of Chemistry reported that they had reached a steady state of 35-40 fellows. Soon they were scattered across Canada to regional laboratories as well, and by 1975 about 1900 scientists from some 50 different countries had held fellowships. Other fellowships were established overseas, and in Canadian universities and government departments.

It is not difficult to appreciate how very influential these bright young people were in establishing a wide variety of research programs across the country. Overall, about 25% remained in Canada, and after 10 or 15 years of operation there was hardly a university in Canada that did not have faculty members in the sciences who had held one of these fellowships. The overseas fellowships sent many young Canadians abroad for a year or two, and often led them to faculty positions at Canadian universities and research institutes in all parts of this country.

E.W.R. Steacie was born in Westmount, Quebec, in 1900. A degree in chemical engineering, then a Ph.D. in physical chemistry, a faculty appointment at McGill, and research in Frankfurt and London, preceded his appointment to NRC in 1939. Despite heavy administrative duties Steacie played an important part in the Canadian United Kingdom Atomic Energy Project, and kept his own researches going during World War II. His very important monograph Atomic and Free Radical Reactions was published in 1946. He published over 200 papers and 3 books. His honours included the Royal Society of Canada (1934) and the Royal Society of London (1948). He died in 1962, having been elected President of the International Council of Scientific Unions the year before.
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Title Annotation:National Research Council of Canada
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Article Type:Biography
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Previous Article:Meetings/Reunions.
Next Article:Canadian periodicals for Canadian chemists. (Vice-Chair's Column).

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