Gerald Vincent Bull Mechanical, Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

Designed the supergun, the GC-45 howitzer; Aerophysicist, artillery designer and ballistics expert

The Story

Bull was a brilliant but controversial expert in ballistics and gunnery. He studied aerophysics at the University of Toronto and earned his PhD at age 23. From 1961 to 1967, he co-directed McGill University’s High Altitude Research Projectile (HARP) program. While testing missiles for a government project called Velvet Glove, he realized that scientific instruments could also be fired from a gun and survive, if put in a proper casing. This led to his great dream—to build a supergun that could launch objects like satellites into space for less cost than rockets could. He was sentenced and jailed for one year in 1980 for illegally selling weapons to South Africa. Later, Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq, offered Bull a chance to build his gun, but Bull’s research ended when he was killed by assassins in 1990.

Sources: Maclean’s, April 22, 1991; Canadian Encyclopedia 2000 ed.

The Person

March 9, 1928
North Bay, Ontario
Date of Death
March 22, 1990
Place of Death
Brussels, Belgium
  • Ph.D., Aerodynamics, U. of T.
Last Updated
September 20, 2009

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