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James D. Prentice fonds
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Personal Correspondence

This series personal correspondence between Jim Prentice and family including his parents and Alison. Of particular note are a series of letters to his parents while at university in Montreal and Glasgow Scotland and a second set to Alison while he was researching at DESY. There is also two files of personal correspondence from other physicists and his students.


This small series includes documentation on Jim Prentice’s early life including his attendance at the Gang Ranch in 1936, his time at Royal Road Military College in the 1940s and his involvement with the Naval Reserves in British Columbia in the 1950s. There is also a certificate, arm band and medal documenting his involvement in the World Master Games in 2005 and 2006. Throughout his life, Prentice established several scholarships and awards which are documented here. He also documented in note or essay form his family history. Finally, this series also includes a copy of his C.V., his Ph.D. diploma, his obituary and a short biography written by Alison Prentice


Photographs document many of the scientific laboratories with which Prof. Prentice was associated. There are photos the University of Toronto Physics laboratory in the 1970s, of the CHEER model, close ups of ARGUS and its installation at DESY as well as views of the synchrotron and DESY grounds. There are also several shots taken at the FermiLab in California and the NAL in Illinois showing instruments, scientists as well as aerial views of the laboratories. Finally there is one file of general photographs showing Prof. Prentice as well as colleagues. Of particular note is a panoramic print of University of Toronto Physics Staff and students taken in May 1959. Two files of photographs document his early life including images of his graduation and reunions from Royal Roads Military Academy and of a 1956 Scottish Ski Team on which he competed.


This series consists of a sample of course files that contain lectures, notes, problem sets, tests, exams and some student course and self-evaluations. Files are grouped together by course and arranged by course level i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th years. Physics courses for engineering, forestry and dentistry are filed after the general Arts courses in Physics. There are also records relating to courses and lectures given in the School of Continuing Education including a popular physics course called Physics for Amateurs and a course on Parapsychology.

James D. Prentice fonds

  • UTA 1675
  • Fonds
  • 1936-2018

Records in this fonds document Prof. Prentice’s career from his early years as a graduate student up until his retirement in 1995 with special emphasis on the 1960s to the mid 1980s. The bulk of the records (Series 1, 4, 5 and 6) focus on his pioneering research in physics and the various scientific collaborations in which he took part. These records, that include correspondence, notes, minutes of meetings and agenda of associations, papers and addresses not only document Prof. Prentice’s career but reveal much about the international co-operation among scientist in the world of experimental particle physics. They also document the various associations, committees and groups that facilitated this co-operation. Series 2, 3, 9 document his role as a teacher and faculty member of the Department of Physics. Records relating to his own education can be found in Series 7 while his activities as a social activist are documented in Series 8.

Prentice, James D.

Social activism and peace groups

This series documents Prof. Prentices activities as a social activist and his involvement in peace groups. Some of the groups were based at the University and while others were part of larger national and international groups. The main groups include: Science for Peace including documentation on the Toronto Resolution, Faculty Committee on Vietnam, University of Toronto Men’s Forum, Pollution Probe and Canadian Concerned Scientists. There are is also files relating to peace action relating to the Vietnam and Iraqi Wars.

Files contain correspondence, memos, reports, minutes, publicity material, surveys and newspaper clippings. They are filed alphabetically by group.

Letters of recommendation

This series contains letters of recommendations for students and colleagues relating to promotions, applications for graduate school, post doctoral positions, grant funding and awards.

University of Toronto

This series contains general files on issues relating to the University and the Department of Physics, as well as records documenting Prof. Prentice’s administrative and teaching positions.

Files contain mainly correspondence, reports, briefs, agenda and minutes. Some of the positions documented for the Physics Department include: Implementation Committee, Commission on University Government (1969-1971), Colloquium Committee (1983-1993), SHE wins program (1985-1988), Gender Issues Committee (1991-1993), 4th year course curriculum committee (1961-1974). There are several files relating to physics curriculum and lecture assignments for the department as well as his cross-appointment at Innis College. This series includes collected documents relating to grievance cases in the Department of Physics in which Prof. Prentice took a particular interest including Dr. Stephan Salaf and Kim Yip Chun.


This series includes files relating to manuscript reviews that Prof. Prentice performed for Physical Review Letters, The Canadian Journal of Physics as well as a review of project proposals for the National Science Foundation. Files contain correspondence, notes and reports on manuscripts.

Professional Associations and Research Institutions

Throughout his career, Prof. Prentice was a member of and held numerous administrative positions on professional associations such as High Energy Physics group, the Institute of Particle Physics, the Canadian Association of Physicists, Universities Research Association, and the National Science and Engineering Research Council. His expertise was also sought by boards and committees of research institutions such as the Canadian High Energy Electron Ring (CHEER), the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL), the Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron (DESY), the Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR), Hadron Elektron Ring Anlage (HERA), and the Superconducting, Super Collider Program Advisory Committee (SCC).

This series documents his contribution to these associations and research institutions. The files are grouped by association or institution, and are arranged somewhat chronologically. They contain correspondence, minutes of meetings, memos, drafts, final reports and position papers. They not only document Prof. Prentice’s personal involvement but also contain a wealth of information about what issues defined Canadian physicists in this period and give evidence to the growth and demands of high energy physics as a research discipline.

Academic research

This series documents Prof. Prentice’s research and publishing collaborations with other Canadian and international physicists. There are quite extensive files on a number of ongoing research projects as well as a few isolated experiments. Records include correspondence, minutes of meetings, research proposals and reports, results, memos, data analysis, grant information, draft articles or parts of articles, manuscripts, records relating to publishing including referee comments. Files are grouped by project or experiment, and are arranged somewhat chronologically. Miscellaneous files relating to the publishing of papers and early proposals are filed at the end of this series.

Colloquia, seminars and conferences

This series is mainly notebooks containing notes and observations taken by Prof. Prentice when attending conferences, colloquia, seminars, meetings and talks. This series relates to records in Series 1 and 4 since it is evident that the notes were taken at meetings of the research and professional groups of which he was a member. Most are described either on the spine or on the front cover and many contain notes from more than one event. They are boxed by size and arranged chronologically. Early ones have been numbered by Prof. Prentice. To facilitate access, an item number has been written on the inside cover of all of the books.

A second accrual documenting talks at conferences, short articles, and participation in symposiums are filed chronologically.


Course notes, exam papers and Ph.D. research notes document Prof. Prentice’s graduate education at McGill University (M.Sc.1953) and Glasgow University (Ph.D. 1959). Also contains early diaries relating to his time at McGill 1952-1957.

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