Donald Frank Stedman
Donald Frank Stedman, scientist (b at Tunbridge Wells, Eng 4 Apr 1900; d at Ottawa 2 May 1967). Primarily a chemist, he was one of the earliest staffers of the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (1930). As a youngster in BC, Donald began his higher education by correspondence courses, gained a BSc from UBC and a doctorate in physical chemistry from U of London. Returning to Canada in 1924, he was engaged in industry and academia before joining the NRC. There he was soon involved in the exploitation of the Turner Valley, Alta, gas deposits. One outcome was his invention of the Stedman fractionating column, which was to become widely used by industry. His work in Ottawa diversified, as he studied, among other things, windshield rain repellents, forest-fire hazard indicators, the physics of time and the classification of the chemical elements. He also invented a wondrous "sea-walker suit" to facilitate lifesaving in marine accidents. An eccentric loner, not all Stedman's ideas fulfilled their early promise, and he had to abandon a search for "new heavy inert gases" on account, he believed, of sabotage by supernatural forces.