Fonds MG1016 - Howard Turner Barnes Fonds

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Howard Turner Barnes Fonds

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  • [1907-1929] (Creation)
    Barnes, Howard T. (Howard Turner), 1873-1950

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Physical description

88 cm of textual records.
10 photographs.
2 film reels.

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Biographical history

Howard Barnes was born in Massachusetts, and came to Canada in 1879. After receiving his bachelor's (1893) and D.Sc. degrees (1900) from McGill, he joined the University's Physics Department. In 1908 he succeeded Ernest Rutherford as Macdonald Professor of Physics and in 1919 became chairman of the department. His particular interest was research on icebergs and in reducing ice on the St. Lawrence River. He retired in 1933 and passed away in 1950.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records (originals, printed materials, photographs and motion pictures) that are almost entirely of a professional and research nature, covering Barnes’ general scientific and university work during World War I, a number of special research problems, and his involvement in scientific and social organizations.

His general scientific and university files (1914-1915) contain correspondence, including copies of some of Barnes' outgoing letters on departmental adminstration, Barnes' lectures, publications, scientific apparatus, research problems and the exchange of information. Correspondents include colleagues in other institutions (including Ernest Rutherford), learned societies, and private industry. This series also contains a file on purchases for the University Library, and inventories of Barnes' library.

Far more extensive are the materials on special research problems. These comprise notes, essays and correspondence on the detection of submarines (1915-1917) and on the development of anti-freezing devices for fire extinguisher and sprinkler systems (1917). A report by Barnes on the effect of ice conditions on St. Lawrence navigaton is supplemented by printed background materials and copies, or extracts from other reports. Barnes' work on icebergs is documented by five binders of clippings, photographs, maps and diary notes on research expeditions to Newfoundland (1924-1929). Practical experiments in ice clearance are illustrated by bound notebooks of clippings and photographs, as well as a number of loose photographs showing ice and flooding damage, use of thermite and calcium chloride, apparatus and ice-crushers (ca 1921- 1929). Finally, two reels of 35 mm motion picture film (ca 1930) show Barnes experimenting with a new mercury microthermometer.

Barnes' work as Hon. Secretary of the Canadian Committee of the British Science Guild is documented by correspondence from 1907 to 1919, largely concerning the recruitment of members and officers, but also touching on a survey of science teaching in schools and the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1917. Less extensive files cover Barnes' involvement in the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (1912-1914), the Rotary Club (1917) and the McGill Graduates' Society (1919)

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Material in English.

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Accession nos.

270, 454, 668

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