David Arnold Keys
1890 - 1977

by Donald J.C. Phillipson, The Canadian Encyclopedia, Edited by M. Hurtig, 1985

Keys, David Arnold, physicist (b at Toronto 4 Nov 1890; d at Ottawa 28 Oct 1977).   He was a much-loved professor at McGill 1922-47 and thereafter the "mayor of Chalk River" - administrative manager of the Canadian atomic project.   After research on antisubmarine warfare with J.C. McLennan in WWI, Keys earned PhDs at both Harvard and Cambridge before joining in 1922 the McGill physics department, where he became Macdonald research professor in 1941.   His own special field was geophysics, for which he wrote one of the earliest textbooks in 1929.   During WWII he was research director of the bureau of technical personnel, in charge of assigning Canadian scientists to war work, and organized special classes at McGill that trained 2000 radar technicians for the RCAF.   The national research council appointed Keys VP in charge of the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories in 1947 and he retired in 1961 after serving as London liaison officer for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.   A lifelong diarist, in retirement Keys wrote his memoirs, unpublished to date.

Dr. Keys addressed the Empire Club on April 7, 1955.   His topic was The Peacetime Applications of Atomic Energy.

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