Military weapons -- Research -- Canada.



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Robert Van Vliet Nicholls Fonds

  • CA MUA MG 1062
  • Fonds
  • 1838-1977

Fonds consists of papers (originals and printed materials) that are largely the products of Nicholls research work; there are also some materials from his student years, and some files related to his teaching and administrative activities.

Student materials consist of notes for undergraduate and graduate courses (1931-1936) and of lectures attended during post-doctoral study at Brooklyn and Cambridge. Teaching files contain examinations and quizzes for courses taught by Nicholls (1936-1973), lecture notes for his course in organic chemistry (1952-1955), laboratory manuals, and correspondence with the Québec Ministry of Education regarding marking of High School Leaving Examinations in chemistry (1940-1949). Administrative responsibilities are documented by files of memoranda and minutes, on the business of Graduate Faculty (1960-1971), the Scholarships Committee (1967-1969), the Museums Committee (1965) and Civil Defence (1951).

Approximately half the records concern research, largely in two fields: war research, and the history of science. War research is covered by correspondence (1939-1951) with Otto Maass and other officers of the National Research Council, the Defence Department, private industry, and fellow chemists, such as Russell Smart, largely on RDX and chemical warfare. Chemical warfare is also the subject of some reading and lecture notes (1942). Drafts and published reports of Nicholls' research on RDX are supplemented by copies of other NRC and Defence Department reports on explosives research, mustard gas, and the work of the NRC Polymer Subcommittee (1942-1944). Nicholls' involvement with the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science is reflected in files of minutes, reports and correspondence (1974-1977). There are also completed questionnaires and correspondence concerning the survey of historical scientific instruments conducted by the Association on behalf of the Union internationale d'histoire et de philosophie des sciences. Files of correspondence with the Humanities Research Council largely deal with assessing grant applications for history of science projects. Other research materials include notes for a bibliography on plastics, soaps and synthetics, and a file of reading notes and correspondence with antiquarian booksellers regarding the history of espionage (ca 1930-1955). Nicholls' interest in the history of science at McGill is reflected in 1.8 m of notes and photocopies of material on individuals, faculties, and science buildings.

Nicholls, Robert V. V. (Robert Van Vliet), 1913-