George Craig Laurence General Physics, Subatomic Particles, Optics, Biophysics, Theoretical Physics

Physicist: first person to attempt to build a fission reactor

The Story

Laurence was educated at Dalhousie and Cambridge, England under Ernest Rutherford the famous New Zealand-born nuclear physicist. In 1939 in Ottawa, he attempted, virtually alone, to build a graphite-uranium atomic reactor. He went to Montreal, Quebec in 1942 and joined the Anglo-French research team that built the ZEEP reactor, the first outside the USA. Then he went to Chalk River in 1945 and served in the Canadian delegation to the UN Atomic Energy Commission (1946 to 1947). He became a senior scientist at the Chalk River Nuclear Labs. From 1961 to 1970 he was president of the Atomic Energy Control Board in charge of Canada’s nuclear energy program.

Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia 1988

The Person

January 21, 1905
Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Date of Death
November 6, 1987
Place of Death
Deep River, Ontario
  • Medal for Achievement in Physics - Canadian Association of Physicists, 1966
  • W.B. Lewis Medal - Canadian Nuclear Association, 1975
  • Certificate of Recognition - American Nuclear Society, 1988
Last Updated
November 12, 2002

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