Douglas, Alexander Edgar

Alexander Edgar Douglas, physicist (b at Melfort, Sask 12 Apr 1916; d at Ottawa 26 July 1981). Educated at the University of Saskatchewan and Pennsylvania State University, he joined the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL's physics division in 1941. For most of the period from 1949 until his retirement in 1980, he headed the SPECTROSCOPY section, which he and the director of the division, Gerhard HERZBERG (who had been his MA research supervisor), built into one of the foremost research laboratories in the field.

His research has included the discovery of many new molecules and the analysis of their spectra; the identification of important features in the spectra of COMETS and of the interstellar medium; and the clarification of an important effect now known as the Douglas Effect in the dynamics of many polyatomic molecules. He was himself director of the Division of Physics from 1969 until 1973. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was awarded the society's Henry Marshall Tory Medal, and a fellow of the Royal Society of London. He was also awarded the Medal for Achievement in Physics by the Canadian Association of Physicists in 1970, and in 1975-76 served as president of the association.