John Stuart Foster

John Stuart Foster, physicist (b at Clarence, NS 30 May 1890; d at Berkeley, Calif 9 Sept 1964). After receiving a doctorate from Yale, he was appointed assistant professor of physics at McGill in 1924 and did postdoctoral work with Niels Bohr in 1926.

Foster, John Stuart

John Stuart Foster, physicist (b at Clarence, NS 30 May 1890; d at Berkeley, Calif 9 Sept 1964). After receiving a doctorate from Yale, he was appointed assistant professor of physics at McGill in 1924 and did postdoctoral work with Niels Bohr in 1926. A specialist in experimental spectroscopy, he made important contributions to the study of the "Stark effect" (the effect of an electric field applied to an atom), which played a critical role in the transformation of modern PHYSICS. Elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1929, he received the Levy Medal of the Franklin Institute in 1930 and in 1935 was elected to the Royal Society of London.

During WWII Foster was liaison officer for the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL at the Radiation Laboratory of MIT, centre of the US effort in radar development. His most important contribution to the war effort was a rapid scanner now known as the Foster scanner. He returned to McGill in 1944 and worked on constructing a proton accelerator (a cyclotron), completed in 1949. In 1964 his laboratory was named after him.