Fonds MG3029 - Etienne Samuel Bieler Fonds

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Etienne Samuel Bieler Fonds

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CA MUA MG3029

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  • 1914-1931 (Creation)
    Creator
    Bieler, Etienne Samuel, 1895-

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30 cm of textual records.

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(1895-1929)

Biographical history

Physicist Etienne Bieler was born in Switzerland and came to Montréal with his family at the age of thirteen. He obtained his B.Sc. in mathematics and physics from McGill in 1915, and during the latter part of the First World War, worked in the Anti-Submarine Division of the British Admiralty. Returning to McGill after the war, Bieler earned an M.Sc. in Physics (1920) and won a scholarship to Caius College, Cambridge, where he joined the Cavendish Laboratory as a research student. There he worked with Sir Ernest Rutherford on the Alpha-particle bombardment of the atom. Bieler's important insights into the laws of force around the atomic nucleus were presented in his Ph.D. thesis (1923). Upon his return to Montréal, Bieler was appointed Assistant Professor of physics at McGill, and developed a new interest in applied geophysics. He tested his method for electrical detection of mineral ores in Rouyn, Québec. In 1928 he took a leave of absence from McGill to become deputy director of a government-sponsored mining expedition in Australia, where he died after a brief bout of pneumonia in 1929.

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Scope and content

Fonds comprises research materials, manuscript essays, teaching materials, and some private correspondence and obituary materials. Research materials largely stem from Bieler's period as a graduate student at McGill and Cambridge. These consist of solutions to mechanics problems (1919), lecture notes for a course on tenser calculus by Prof. Gillson of Cambridge (1922-1923) and five notebooks containing experimental observations at the Cavendish Laboratory and reading notes concerning atomic physics (1919-1925). Amongst a large collection of Bieler's off-print articles are two manuscripts for papers on "Fermi-Dirac Statistical Mechanics and some applications" and "A new method for the detection and investigation of ore deposit by means of electric currents" (ca 1928). Bieler's lecture notes are available for a university course in statics (1926-27) and for a course on telegraphy he gave to the McGill C.O.T.C. (1920).

Apart from a memo on differential calculus from L.V. King (1926), Bieler's private correspondence consists of seven letters written by Bieler to Prof. A.S. Eve from Australia, describing his work on the mining expedition. These letters form part of a file of letters of tribute to Bieler and other obituary materials assembled by A.S. Eve. (1919-31). As well, there are a few letters to and from Bieler's family concerning the donation of his library to McGill.

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Material in English.

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454; 1989-0032

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