Charles Alexander McDowell

Charles Alexander McDowell, physical chemist (born 29 August 1918 in Belfast, Ireland; died 18 September 2001). McDowell came to Canada in 1955 as head of the chemistry department of the University of British Columbia.

Charles Alexander McDowell

Charles Alexander McDowell, physical chemist (born 29 August 1918 in Belfast, Ireland; died 18 September 2001). McDowell came to Canada in 1955 as head of the chemistry department of the University of British Columbia. In his 26-year tenure, he built up this department to a point at which it could sometimes be counted the largest in North America, with great breadth in its activities. His sensitivities to physicochemical sophistication and fashionable trends in science led to a concentration in his department of big-machine methods for studying molecular structure. This field includes his own substantial research in mass spectrometry, magnetic resonance and photoelectron SPECTROSCOPY.

Unlike many scientists, he seems able to pursue science itself and the politics of science as an essential unity. He was president of the Chemical Institute of Canada, 1978-79. He was university professor at UBC 1981-84, then university professor emeritus. In 1986 he became a full member of the European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities, and an honorary member of the Canadian Society for Chemistry.