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Honorary degree citation - Morrel Bachynski*

By: Stanley J. Kubina, June 1997

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Morrel P. Bachynski, an engineer, physicist, entrepreneur and industrialist. After obtaining a bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Saskatchewan in 1952 with the Professional Engineers of Saskatchewan prize for the highest scholastic standing amongst the graduating class, he continued there with the M.Sc. Degree in physics in the field of radar investigations of the aurora. He then joined Dr. Woonton at the renowned Eaton Electronics Research Laboratory of McGill University where he earned a Ph.D degree in 1955 with a thesis on aberrations in microwave lenses.

In October 1955, he joined the newly created Research Laboratories of RCA Victor Co. where he conducted research on wave propagation, diffraction, reflection, obstacle gain, radome design, antennas, microwave techniques, shock front structures and plasma physics. He served progressively as Director of Research Laboratories and of the Microwave Physics Laboratory and Vice-President, Research and Development.

Mr. Chancellor, it has been my pleasure to have had several professional and personal contacts with Dr. Bachynski. I have recently unearthed evidence of one that he might not remember. In 1960 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel there was a conference in the St. Laurent room sponsored by the Institute of Radio Engineers and devoted to Communications. The IRE is now the IEEE, The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the world's largest technical professional organisation. Amongst the handful of authors, there was a paper by a keen young Ph.D. from RCA devoted to wave diffraction by smooth hills. Another paper by a less young engineer from Canadair was on the evaluation of the Communications Systems on Canadair's CL 28/Argus Long Range Patrol Aircraft. I was pleased to share the podium with Dr. Bachynski at that time and I am even more pleased to do so today.

En 1977, au moment où le secteur de la recherche-développement était en pleine expansion au Canada, Morrel Bachynski a pris une initiative audacieuse, celle de fonder MPB Technologies Inc. La compagnie s'est acquis une réputation nationale et internationale pour ses activités dans le domaine des lasers, de l'électro-optique, de la recherche sur la fusion, de la radiométrie et des radars à ondes millimétriques, des expériences sur les navettes spatiales et, plus récemment, des systèmes intercontinentaux de télécommunication par fibres optiques, de l'électromagnétique et de la compatibilité électromagnétique.

Il est membre de la Société royale du Canada, Associate Fellow de l'American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, membre de l'American Physical Society, de l'Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, de l'Académie canadienne du génie et de l'American Physical Society. Co-auteur du livre The Particle Kinetics of Plasmas, on lui doit plus de 80 publications dans des revues scientifiques.

M. Bachynski a reçu de nombreuses distinctions en récompense de ses activités professionnelles et scientifiques dont la Médaille de physique industrielle et appliquée décernée par l'Association canadienne des physiciens (1995), les Médailles d'or (1990) et de bronze (1989) du Prix Canada pour l'excellence en affaires et en entrepreneurship ainsi que le Prix de gestion en R&D de l'Association canadienne de la gestion de recherches (1988). Il détient deux doctorats honorifiques, l'un de l'Université de Waterloo (1993) et l'autre, de l'Université McGill (1994).

On a personal level, Mr. Chancellor, Dr. Bachynski was pleased to announce to all and sundry on March 25th of this year that he now has a second granddaughter, Allyson to keep Katerina company. If I were to tell our engineering graduates that he is also ballistic expert, I wonder whether they would associate it with his being the Hampstead Tennis Club Men’s Singles Champion in 1979? He still jealously guards his opportunities to play whenever he can.

Dr. Bachynski has been generous with his time to chair many industial and scientific committees and holds many directorships. Of special interest to us at Concordia is his acceptance to become the founding president of the External Advisory Board for our Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science. The words “exceptional effort and extraordinary contribution” well characterise his efforts to position us closer to the external community and particularly the industrial sector. We look forward to continuing our work with him, now as Past President, for the welfare of our students and our research partnerships.

Mr. Chancellor, it is my privilege and great personal pleasure to present to you, on behalf of Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Morrel P. Bachynski, so that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased

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