Guptill, Ernest

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Guptill, Ernest

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1919 - 1976


Ernest Guptill was a physicist and Dalhousie professor for three decades. He was born on 5 September 1919 on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, where he attended school until his family moved to Wolfville, Nova Scotia, in order that he and his two brothers could attend university. He received his BSc from Acadia University (1940) and his MA from the University of Western Ontario (1942). He earned his PhD at McGill University (1946), where he worked on radar research in collaboration with the Canadian National Research Council. He and W.H. Watson co-invented slotted waveguide antenna, a device used by aircraft, ocean vessels, fishing boat, and NORAD’s nationally linked radar stations.

Guptill moved to Halifax in 1947 to take up an appointment at Dalhousie University. His research included an early experiment in nuclear magnetic resonance with W.J. Archibald. In 1958, following a year-long sabbatical at the University of Leiden, Guptill was appointed George Monroe Professor of Physics and head of the physics department. He served on the National Research Council and with the Nova Scotia Research Foundation. In addition to his research and teaching, Guptill was a passionate sailor. On 20 March 1976, he died of hypothermia in a boating accident in Halifax's Northwest Arm, one hundred feet off Point Pleasant Park. His family established a memorial trust fund in his name to provide an annual scholarship for a Grand Manan High School student, and he is also commemorated by the annual E.W. Guptill Memorial Lecture series in Dalhousie's department of physics and atmospheric science.


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