N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as
the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may
be available at the University Archives.
Convocation date: May 12, 1964
Discipline / contribution: nuclear physics
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the University Council and Senate, I present to you Wilfred Bennet Lewis, Senior Vice-President (Science), Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Chalk River. Trained in the schools and colleges of Great Britain, and with research and engineering development and operational experiences ranging all the way from the nucleus of the atom to radio waves and their use in radars, he came to Canada in 1946 as Director of the Division of Atomic Energy Research, National Research Council of Canada, Chalk River. For almost 20 years he has served Canada not only with respect to his particular responsibilities at the Chalk River Establishment, but also on numerous committees having to do with the development of science and technology in our country. Those of us who have had the privilege to serve with Dr. Lewis on any of these committees marvel at his breadth and depth of knowledge of many branches of science and engineering, and at his ability quickly to summarize the essential points of a problem under discussion and to suggest appropriate procedures for further action. This knowledge and these abilities are now being called upon internationally, more generally as the Canadian representative on the United Nations Scientific Advisory Committee, and more particularly with respect to the benefits of science and technology for the less developed areas. He is also a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency Advisory Committee and a Charter Member of the American Nuclear Society. He served as Director of the Society from 1955 to 1964, and as President during 1961-62.Degree received: Doctor of Science
His earlier work on nuclear physics was done at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University. He worked first with Lord Rutherford on the fine structure and energies of alpha-ray groups, and later with Sir John Cockcroft (incidentally an honorary DSc.of this university) on nuclear disintegrations by particles accelerated by high voltages and then in the construction and operation of the Cambridge cyclotron. During World War Two, as did many British scientists, he worked for their Air Ministry on radar.
His scientific achievements were recognized in 1945 by election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, one of the most desired and appreciated forms of recognition that can come to any scientist. He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1946, and presented with the American Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm in 1947. Canadian scientists recognized his achievements by electing him to the Royal Society of Canada in 1952. Appreciation of his many services to Canadian science and technology has been shown by an Honorary DSc. from Queenâ€™s University, an Honorary LLD from Dalhousie University and and Honorary LLD from Carleton University.
His associations with this University, as with most universities in Canada, are much closer than most people suspect. Because of his position with the Division of Atomic Energy Research, he was involved undoubtedly in the establishment of our Betatron Laboratory, and its subsequent financing, and now currently with our Accelerator Laboratory and its financing. He was consulted prior to the development of our cobalt-60 therapy unit. For a number of years he has been a member of a Defence Research Board Committee which has provided substantial sums of money for the support of our Institute of Upper Atmospheric Physics, and for various investigations in our Department of Electrical Engineering. I believe that this is his first visit to our Campus since 1950. Even so, I feel certain that he could tell us more about the research work which we are doing in nuclear physics, upper atmospheric physics, and electrical and mechanical engineering than any other person.
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you Wilfred Bennet Lewis and ask that you will confer on him the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa
Degree presented by: B.W. Currie, Dean of Graduate Studies
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