William Lash Miller

William Lash Miller, educator, chemist (b at Galt, Ont 10 Sept 1866; d at Toronto 1 Sept 1940). When he died, Miller was described as the greatest chemist Canada had produced; he was certainly the most colourful.

William Lash Miller

William Lash Miller, educator, chemist (b at Galt, Ont 10 Sept 1866; d at Toronto 1 Sept 1940). When he died, Miller was described as the greatest chemist Canada had produced; he was certainly the most colourful. A graduate in chemistry from the University of Toronto (1887), Miller then earned 2 PhDs in Germany, joining the teaching staff at Toronto in 1891, where he served for 46 years. Possessed of extraordinary clarity of thought and a forceful personality, Miller was an inspiring yet terrifying teacher. His greatest scientific strength lay in his mastery of the chemical thermodynamics of Willard Gibbs, learned from Ostwald at Leipzig. His greatest weakness (also learned from Ostwald) was his refusal to use or teach the atomic and molecular theories that formed the mainstream of 20th-century chemical thinking. Toronto became an important centre of chemical research, and a roster of Miller's pupils includes a remarkable number of important chemists.