A familiar and colourful figure on our campus between the Wars has left us never to return. Professor Stanley Smith actually is unknown to more recent generations of students owing to the fact that illness forced him to leave his work in 1939. He died this autumn after five years of misery and suffering.
Stanley Smith was born in Devon in 1888 and was educated in Exeter and Oxford. He obtained First Class Honors in Physics and was thoroughly versed in Classics and Philosophy besides. He was granted B.A., M.A. and B.Sc. degrees all from Oxford.
In the First Great War he was a Lieutenant in the R.N.V.R. and experimented in wireless. His success in that field earned him a Captaincy in the R.N. Air Service where he did research work on performance and stability of airplanes in actual flight. He came to Alberta on the eve of the First Great War, enlisted immediately and returned to the University in 1919 as Assistant Professor of Physics. He later was promoted to full Professor and head of the department. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Professor Smith's research in Physics included a thesis on ionization by collision of gases, numerous pieces of work on diffraction of light from a cylindrical aperture, dispersion and standard wave lengths in the extreme ultraviolet region of the spectrum. His later work had to do with very intricate and involved experiments in so-called hyperfine structure of the spectra of several rare elements.
Mr. Smith, as he always preferred to be called, was a man of wide interests and thorough knowledge of many subjects. He loved the out-of-doors and the sea; he was a gifted actor, and had discriminating tastes in literature and music.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith's home was always open house to innumerable students and members of the staff, and much thought was given to bringing people of similar tastes together at a luncheon or a dinner. Interesting visitors from the British Isles and Europe found royal hospitality here, and many of us are deeply grateful for the opportunities that were thus opened to us to meet people with new ideas and fresh out-looks. In looking back over those years when Mr. Smith was at the zenith of his powers, we at the University might truly say, "We shall not see his like again."
L. H. N.
Published January 1945.