Maestro of Science: Omond McKillop Solandt and Government Science in War and Hostile Peace, 1939-1956

By Jason S. Ridler

© 2015

One of the brightest Canadian scientists of his generation, Omond McKillop Solandt was a physiologist by training, an engineer by disposition, and a manager by necessity. A protégé of insulin’s co-discoverer, Charles Best, Solandt worked as a scientist for the British government during the Second World War, including as a pioneer of operational research and a manager of scientific establishments. Ending the war as a colonel, he served on the British Mission to Japan, where he studied the effects of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, before returning to Canada to become chairman of the newly created Defence Research Board. There he spearheaded Canada’s attempt to create a new and innovative government science infrastructure that served the needs of the Canadian military at the dawn of the nuclear age and worked alongside allies in Britain and the United States.

In Maestro of Science, Jason S. Ridler draws on interviews with Solandt and his colleagues and declassified records from Canada and the United Kingdom to paint a vivid picture of the influence and achievements of a Canadian leader in Cold War military research.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Illustrations: 23
  • Dimensions: 6.6in x 1.2in x 9.4in
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SKU# SP003705

  • PUBLISHED OCT 2015

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    Regular Price: $58.00

    ISBN 9781442647473
  • PUBLISHED NOV 2015

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    Regular Price: $58.00

Quick Overview

Jason S. Ridler draws on interviews and declassified records to paint a vivid picture of the influence and achievements of a Canadian leader in Cold War military research.

Maestro of Science: Omond McKillop Solandt and Government Science in War and Hostile Peace, 1939-1956

By Jason S. Ridler

© 2015

One of the brightest Canadian scientists of his generation, Omond McKillop Solandt was a physiologist by training, an engineer by disposition, and a manager by necessity. A protégé of insulin’s co-discoverer, Charles Best, Solandt worked as a scientist for the British government during the Second World War, including as a pioneer of operational research and a manager of scientific establishments. Ending the war as a colonel, he served on the British Mission to Japan, where he studied the effects of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, before returning to Canada to become chairman of the newly created Defence Research Board. There he spearheaded Canada’s attempt to create a new and innovative government science infrastructure that served the needs of the Canadian military at the dawn of the nuclear age and worked alongside allies in Britain and the United States.

In Maestro of Science, Jason S. Ridler draws on interviews with Solandt and his colleagues and declassified records from Canada and the United Kingdom to paint a vivid picture of the influence and achievements of a Canadian leader in Cold War military research.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Illustrations: 23
  • Dimensions: 6.6in x 1.2in x 9.4in
  • Reviews

    ‘Ridler provides fascinating insights into a fine grained history – the experiences of a scientist-administrator balancing the demands of research and the political imperatives of the wartime and postwar worlds.’


    Eric L. Mills
    Isis vol 108:01:2017

    Maestro of Science is a very considerable achievement, a work of careful and balanced scholarship that documents Solandt’s contributions to operational research in the United Kingdom during the war and his post-war government service as Chairman of Canada’s Defence Research Board.”


    Terry Copp, Director Emeritus, Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic, and Disarmament Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University

    “Based on prodigious research in government and personal manuscript collections in both Canada and the United Kingdom, Maestro of Science is a worthy contribution to the military, scientific, and institutional history of British and Canadian defence research in World War II and the early Cold War years.”


    Richard V. Damms, Department of History, Mississippi State University
  • Author Information

    Jason S. Ridler is an adjunct professor of history at Norwich University and former lecturer at the Royal Military College of Canada.

  • Table of contents

    Chapter One: Introduction

    Chapter Two: Idyllic Childhood: The Early Years of Omond Solandt, 1909–1921

    Chapter Three: Protégé: Omond Solandt and Charles Best in Toronto and Leningrad, 1927–1935

    Chapter Four: Commencement: Solandt, Cambridge and the Ontario Polio Epidemic, 1936–1939

    Chapter Five: First Taste of War: Solandt and the Southwest London Blood Depot, 1940

    Chapter Six: Tank Doctor: Omond Solandt, Director of the Physiological Research Laboratory, Lulworth, 1941–-1942

    Chapter Seven: Managing Science: Omond Solandt and the British Army Operational Research Group, 1943–1945

    Chapter Eight: Atomic Battlefield: Solandt and the British Mission to Japan, November 1945

    Chapter Nine: The Only Man for the Job: Omond Solandt and the Origins of the Defence Research Board, 1943–1946

    Chapter Ten: A Doctor Among Soldiers: Solandt, Canada’s First Scientific Chief of Staff, 1946–1956

    Chapter Eleven: A Decade of Leadership: Omond Solandt, Chairman of the Defence Research Board, 1946–1956

    Chapter Twelve: Rockets, Germs and UFOS: Solandt, the Establishments, and Public Perceptions of the DRB, 1946–1956

    Chapter Thirteen: Canada’s Defence Research Diplomat: Solandt and the DRB’s International Connections, 1946–1956

    Chapter Fourteen: Atomic Realist: Omond Solandt and Nuclear Weapons, 1945–1956

    Chapter Fifteen: Conclusion

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