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Thode, Henry George
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Henry George Thode was born in Dundurn, Saskatchewan in 1910. He completed his BSc. and MSc. at the University of Saskatchewan. In 1934, he took his Ph.D in physical chemistry at the University of Chicago. For his post-doctoral work, he was given the opportunity to conduct research at Columbia University under the tutelage of Dr. Harold C. Urey, a pioneer in atomic research. Thode's time with Urey influenced much of his later work.
In 1939, Thode came to McMaster University as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. In 1942 he was promoted to Associate Professor. During World War II he was relieved of duties to participate in the wartime work and research of the Canadian Atomic Energy Project. Thode was a consultant for Atomic Energy Canada Limited from 1945 to 1951, and from 1966 to 1981 he was the director and member of AECL Executive Committee. He was also a member of the Defense Research Board from 1945 to 1961. Thode made numerous contributions to the research efforts of his colleagues at the AECL. Perhaps the most notable was his construction of the first mass spectrometer in Canada. The mass spectrometer, housed at McMaster, played a vital role in wartime research and kept Thode traveling back and forth between Hamilton and Montreal to take advantage of McMaster's technological advancements.
Once the war was over, Thode returned to his teaching duties. From 1944 to 1979, he was a Professor of Chemistry; between 1948 and 1952 he was Head of the Department of Chemistry. Thode was Director of Research from 1947 to 1961 and Principal of Hamilton College, McMaster University's early scientific school from 1949 to 1963. In 1957 he became even more involved with the University's development by directing the first nuclear reactor at a university in the British Commonwealth and becoming Vice President of the University, a position he held until 1961 when he became President and Vice Chancellor. Thode occupied this latter position from 1961 to 1972. In 1979, he was given the title of Professor Emeritus, a title held until his death in 1997. Thode was also responsible for organizing and hosting the first post-war international conference on nuclear chemistry, held at McMaster in 1947. He actively participated in and encouraged visits and scientific exchanges between Canada and the Soviet Union, beginning in 1957. Thode received numerous honours during his long scientific career. Thode died on 22 March 1997.
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