- 1950-2008 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
Boris P. Stoicheff was a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics at the University of Toronto, a leading authority on Ramen Spectroscopy, and a pioneer in the use of lasers in optical physic and spectroscopy. Stoicheff was also the President of the Optical Society of America and the Canadian Association of Physicists, as well as being a member of the Order of Canada. During his career, Stoicheff published more than 180 papers on the subject of lasers, optical physics and spectroscopy, and was the author of a biography on the life and work of physicist Gerhard Herzberg.
Boris Peter Stoicheff was born in Bitola, Macedonia in 1924. In 1931 he and his family immigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto. Stoicheff attended Jarvis Collegiate Institute (1938-1943) where he excelled in both mathematics and in athletics (he was ranked fifth in Ontario for cross-country while in high school). After high school Stoicheff enrolled in the Engineering Physics program at the University of Toronto where he obtained his B.A.Sc. (1947) and his M.A. (1948) in physics. In 1950, under the supervision of Professor Harry Welsh, Stoicheff completed his Ph.D. on the subject of Ramen Spectroscopy of Gases at High Temperature at the University of Toronto.
In the early 1950s, Stoicheff began working for the National Research Council (N.R.C.) in Ottawa under the general direction of Gerhard Herzberg (Herzberg would go on to win the Noble Prize for Chemistry in 1971). During his time at the National Research Council, Stoicheff became well-known in the world of optical physics for his very precise, high-resolution Ramen spectra and for his patience in obtaining the highest quality spectroscopic results. In all, Stoicheff published more than thirty papers on the topic of Ramen Spectroscopy while working for the National Research Council. In 1954 Stoicheff married Joan Ambridge and in 1956 they had a son, Peter. Near the end of his time at the N.R.C., Stoicheff took an interest in Brillouin scattering; more specifically, how the emerging technology of MASERS and LASERS could aid in carrying out Brillouin spectroscopy. In the early 1960s Stoicheff constructed the first (ruby) laser in Canada. The use of lasers in spectroscopy would become Stoicheff’s primary area of research for the remainder of his career.
After fourteen years at the N.R.C. Stoicheff accepted a position at the University of Toronto as a Professor of Physics.; in 1977 he was promoted to the position of University Professor. From 1964 until his retirement in 1989 Stoicheff worked out of his lab at the University of Toronto’s Department of Physics, where he completed pioneering research in the area of optical spectroscopy. During his career Stoicheff held numerous positions on various university, national and international committees and boards including: Member of Council of the Royal Society of Canada, Vice-President of the Canadian Association of Physicists, Canadian Correspondent to The Royal Society (London), and Co-Chairman of the 5th International Conference on Laser Spectroscopy, among many others. Stoicheff also received a number of honours and awards. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Honourary Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, U.K./Canada Rutherford Lecturer for The Royal Societies of London and Canada, the recipient of Centennial Medal of Canada, the Canadian Association of Physics Medal of Achievement, and several honorary degrees from Canadian and international Universities.
After his retirement, Stoicheff remained active in the scientific community and continued to lecture, publish and research in the field of optical physics and spectroscopy. In addition to physics, Stoicheff had a great interest in the humanities, and pursued subjects such as religion, psychology, art and biography. After his retirement, Stoicheff created a course titled “The Riddle of Light” where students explored both scientific and artistic interpretation of light. He was also the author of a biography on the life and career of his former supervisor and mentor Gerhard Herzberg titled Gerhard Herzberg: A Illustrious Life in Science, published in 2002. Boris Stoicheff died in Toronto on April 15, 2010.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
- Series 9 (University of Toronto), B2010-0025/076 - Records for Massey College Nominations Committee and Search Committee for Master - closed for 30 years from latest date of file activity.
- Series 12 (Correspondence with Students) is closed for 30 years from latest date of file activity.
- All other records are open.