Gordon Merritt Shrum

Gordon Merritt Shrum, OC, OBE, physicist (born 14 January 1896 in Smithville, ON; died 20 June 1985 in Vancouver, BC).

Gordon Merritt Shrum, OC, OBE, physicist (born 14 January 1896 in Smithville, ON; died 20 June 1985 in Vancouver, BC). After service in the First World War, Shrum took a PhD under J.C. McLennan at the University of Toronto, where he discovered in 1925 the "green line" in the spectrum of the aurora. He joined the University of British Columbia that year and eventually became dean of graduate studies.

Shrum's personality, and his membership in such bodies as the National Research Council and Defence Research Board, gave his influence national scope. He was the apostle of research in British Columbia (a prime promoter of the British Columbia Research Council, created in 1944) and of the competence of scientists as public servants.

After retiring from the University of British Columbia at age 65, he became chairman of BC Hydro for 12 years and chancellor of Simon Fraser University; at age 80 he began work as chairman of the Robson Square redevelopment project in Vancouver.

A power generating station on the Peace River is named after him. Gordon Shrum: An Autobiography (1986) was prepared with Peter Stursberg and edited by Clive Cocking.

Shrum was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1946 and the Order of Canada in 1967.