Otto Maass

Otto Maass, educator, scientist (b at New York C, NY 8 July 1890; d at Montréal 3 July 1961). Maass was educated at McGill and Harvard (PhD 1919). In 1920 he joined McGill's staff and in 1923 became Macdonald Professor of Chemistry there, a position he retained until 1955. He was also chairman of the McGill department of chemistry (1937-55).

Other positions he held were as director general of the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (1940-55); assistant to the president, NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (1940-46); director of the Directorate of Chemical Warfare and Smoke (1940-46); and chairman of various governmental committees during WWII.

Maass was instrumental in the establishment of the Defence Research Board and contributed to the eminence of the NRC. He established the first graduate school in science at McGill and there directed the work of 137 graduate students. He published more than 200 papers in such areas as calorimetry, critical-state phenomena, preparation and properties of pure hydrogen peroxide (first prepared by him and used today as a rocket fuel), basic study of cellulose and cellulose systems, and chemical pulping of wood. Awarded many honorary degrees and other awards, Maass was a member of the Royal Society of Canada (1940). A brilliant teacher, experimentalist and organizer, Maass was one of the great scientists in Canadian history.