Nuclear Pursuits: The Scientific Biography of Wilfrid Bennett Lewis


210 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7735-1186-5
DDC 539.7'092




Reviewed by Richard G. Kuhn

Richard G. Kuhn is an assistant professor of geography at the University
of Guelph.


Nuclear Pursuits is a detailed account of the career of Wilfrid Bennett
Lewis, from his doctoral research at the Cavendish Laboratory and
wartime research on radar development in the United Kingdom, through his
long career in the Canadian nuclear industry. Lewis, who was largely
responsible for the development of the CANDU reactor system, was an
ardent proponent of the expansion of nuclear power in Canada and abroad.
From the end of World War II until his retirement in 1973, he dominated
the nuclear-research agenda in Canada, elevating the country’s role in
international nuclear research and applications.

Fawcett’s portrayal is based on Lewis’s lectures, memoranda, and
files, as well as on interviews conducted with his peers from Ontario
Hydro and Chalk River. Her research is thorough and meticulous—perhaps
to a fault, for those readers unfamiliar with the inner workings of the
Canadian nuclear establishment may find sections of the book slow going.
All in all, however, Nuclear Pursuits is an important addition to the
history of Canadian science.


Fawcett, Ruth., “Nuclear Pursuits: The Scientific Biography of Wilfrid Bennett Lewis,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,