Gerald Vincent Bull
Mechanical, Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering
Designed the supergun, the GC-45 howitzer; Aerophysicist, artillery designer and ballistics expert
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.