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Irvine Israel Glass fonds
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Lecture notes

Most of the lecture notes that Dr. Glass preserved from his teaching career are to be found in accession B1994-0033. This series contains lecture notes on gasdynamics prepared between 1954 and 1963. They have been left substantially as Dr. Glass arranged them. He did the numbering on the pages in the numerous sections.

Organizations and conferences

Dr. Glass belonged to many professional associations, and was in wide demand at conferences. He also, as already has been noted, was deeply involved in a number of organizations devoted to various causes on behalf of Jewish peoples. The activities of both groups overlapped, especially on the issue of scientific freedom.

The organizations represented here are the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1980-1981), the Canadian Committee of Scientists and Scholars (1980-1981), the Commission on Post-Secondary Education in Ontario (1971), the Committee of Concerned Scientists (1980-1986), the 2nd International Colloquium on Gasdynamics of Explosions held in Novosibirisk, USSR, in 1969 (1966-1972), the International Conference in Honour of Andrei Sakharov (1981), the 15th International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics held at the University of Toronto in 1980 (1979-1980), the Sino-Judaic Institute (1981-1990), and the University of Toronto protest regarding anti-Semitism in the USSR (1976-1978).

The organization files contain primarily correspondence, with some background and other reports, programs, notes, manuscripts and press clippings. The conference files also contain some addresses.

The arrangement is alphabetical.

Addresses and publications

This series contains, in four folders, two addresses by Dr. Glass, with covering correspondence, and background files. The first was delivered at the 7th International Shock Tube Symposium in Toronto in 1969. The second, "China and its vanished Jews", was also delivered in Toronto on 8 February, 1981. The files relating to it contain correspondence and reports in Chinese, with the originals of the translations into English, along with other background material and press clippings. The final address, "Jewish life at the crossroads: the role of Yiddish literature in the 20th century", is by Dr. Glass's wife, Anne, delivered in 1982 shortly before she died.

Six of the remaining nine files in this series are devoted to Shock Waves and the Man, which was published in 1974 to great academic acclaim as the reviews and notices demonstrate.

Negotiations began almost immediately for its translation into Russian (1977), while editions in Chinese, Polish, Hindi, and Japanese followed. The files for each edition contain correspondence, notes, and some contracts that document the process.

The seventh file contains correspondence, notes, press clippings and other articles that were received in response to Dr. Glass's article, "Terrestrial and cosmic shock waves", that appeared in the July/August, 1977 edition of the American Scientist. Next, there is a file of correspondence with Cambridge University Press (1985-1988) over a proposed book, "Fundamentals of shock waves and shock tubes". The final file contains a copy of Professor Glass's retrospective article, "Forty years of continuous research at UTIAS on nonstationary flows and shock waves", that appeared in the first issue of Shock Waves in 1991, of which Dr. Glass was editor-in-chief.


As Dr. Glass's reputation as a scientist grew, he began to receive invitations to make special trips abroad. In 1961 he was invited by the Academy of Sciences in the USSR to give a series of lectures on high-temperature gas flows and shock wave phenomena. In 1965 the Polish Academy of Sciences invited him to attend the 7th Fluid Dynamics Symposium at Jurata; afterwards he attended the 7th International Congress on High-Speed Photography and Cinematography in Zurich. In 1980, on the invitation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, he spent four weeks lecturing in China and a further two weeks in Japan as a part of the Speakers' Program sponsored by the Department of External Affairs. In May of 1985 he returned to China on a lecture tour and was awarded an "honorary professorship" by the Nanjing Aeronautical Institute, the first foreigner to receive one. He returned via Japan.

The files in this series document all of these trips. Most include background files, correspondence, programs, drafts of addresses and lectures, notes and press clippings. For the trip to the USSR in 1961, there is only a report prepared by Dr. Glass on his return; he also wrote one for the 1985 trip to China, for which there are also diaries and notebooks. The arrangement is chronological.

Personal files

This series contains biographical sketches compiled for internal University of Toronto purposes and for several biographical dictionaries (ca. 1960-1992), including a selection of photographs; a personal data file compiled by Professor Glass in July, 1986; certificates and diplomas for academic and honorary degrees and other awards (1947-1986); and press clippings (1977-1985).


Dr. Glass was a prolific letter writer and this series represents only a small portion of his total output. The remainder will be found in accession B94-0033. There are two "personal correspondence files" from his office, covering the years 1964-1966 and 1968-1971. The remaining eight files contain extensive personal correspondence for the months of April, 1981 to mid-July, 1982, and October, 1987 through October, 1988, witha few letters for 1983, 1985 and 1993.

The "personal correspondence files" from his office encompass the personal side of his professional work, such as invitations to conferences and speaking engagements, references, and internal reports and meetings.

The personal correspondence for 1981-1982 relates primarily to Dr. Glass being appointed a University Professor, to his part in the campaign on behalf of Andrei Sakharov and other Soviet refusniks and dissidents, to exchange programs between the University of Toronto and other universities, and to conferences. The files for 1987 and 1988 contain much correspondence by the Committee of Concerned Scientists on the extradition of Nazi war criminals, particularly Alois Brunner, and on the campaign to allow Soviet Jewish refusniks to emigrate. Most of the remaining letters are devoted to a discussion to Professor Glass's ongoing research and writings and to his interest in Jews in China.

The arrangement is chronological.

Glass 1995 accession

Biographical files, certificates and diplomas, professional and personal correspondence, lecture notes on gas dynamics (1954-1963); files on professional associations, conferences, and trips; drafts of articles and addresses, and photoprints documenting Dr. Glass's career as a professor of aerospace studies and a specialist in shock waves, and his personal interest in the Jewish peoples through his involvement, in particular, with Canadian Professors for Peace in the Middle East, the Committee of Concerned Scientists, and the Sino-Judaic Institute.

Addresses and public lectures

Dr. Glass was much sought after as a public lecturer and gave freely of his time. Most of the addresses relate to his professional work, but he also took time to share his private passions, especially the utilization of geothermal energy and his research on the Jews in China. The last arose from his invitations to visit China in 1980 and 1985, where he was awarded an honorary professorship from the prestigious Nanjing Aeronautical Institute.

The files contain drafts of addresses, covering correspondence, notes, programs, press coverage, photoprints and slides.

Professional associations and conferences

Dr. Glass belonged to many professional associations, in some of which he played a very active role. He was also much in demand as an adviser to and participant in conferences in his areas of specialization. This series reflects his involvement in these areas; additional information may also be found in the addresses in series 10.

There are extensive files are on the fluid dynamics divisions of the American Physical Society and NASA, on the aerodynamics committee of the National Research Council of Canada, and on the geothermal energy study of the Science Council of Canada, which Dr. Glass headed. The conferences represented are mostly international ones on gasdynamics and shock tubes. Dr. Glass also sat on a number of editorial boards and was the founder of the journal, Shock Waves.

The material in this series includes correspondence, programs, minutes, reports, lecture notes, addresses, press clippings, and photographs.

Manuscripts and publications

This series contains manuscripts and the occasional offprint of book reviews, articles, chapters of books, and books written by Dr. Glass. There is also covering correspondence, contracts, notes, reviews, and photoprints tipped in with the manuscripts. The arrangement is chronological.

This series is very incomplete; it contains material on only about 50 of the approximately 200 publications written or co-authored by Dr. Glass. There are no manuscripts or publications, for example, for the years 1954, 1960, 1963-1966, 1969, 1973, 1984, and 1987, and the years represented are not always complete. For some of the publications, there is only covering correspondence; for others, the manuscript is incomplete; and for a few, there is only an offprint.

Graphic material

This series consists of photoprints, photonegatives, and slides assembled by Dr. Glass in the course of his research, teaching duties, his writing, and for his public addresses and lectures, which are not specifically connected to manuscript material in other series.

The arrangement of the photographs and negatives is generally by topic. There is a representative sampling of images from the Institute for Aerospace Studies, of Dr. Glass' involvement with Avro Corporation and with NASA, and of various aspects of his research.

A number of the slides relate to unidentified lectures. The remainder is arranged by topic, generally in alphabetical order.

Boxes B1994/0033/003P, 009P, and 010P contain material that largely, or in part, belongs to series 9.

Administrative files (University of Toronto)

Dr. Glass held several administrative positions in the Institute for Aerospace Studies. From 1961-1966 he was its chairman and from 1968 to 1974 it’s assistant director of education. Most of the records from both of these positions have remained in the respective administrative jurisdictions.

The files in this series include Dr. Glass' "activity reports" (1975-1993), minutes of the Institute's council meetings (1975-1977) and its advisory committee (1976); proposals for buildings, teaching assignments, and post-doctoral fellowships; correspondence concerning visiting professors and exchange students from the Soviet Union (1962-1988) and China (1981-1982), and correspondence about Pathways to Excellence, the history of UTIAS (1976).

Teaching files and lecture notes

Dr. Glass' teaching career began in the autumn of 1950 when he was appointed a research associate in the then Institute of Aerophysics. His earliest surviving lectures are on boundary layer theory, but he became best known for his fourth year course in gasdynamics (ASE 1048, AER 410S), and his graduate courses: non-stationary gasdynamics and wave interactions (1009); shock waves in continuous media, a reading course (1014); gas flows at high temperature (1302, 1402); hypersonic gasdynamics (2003); and his gasdynamics seminar (2045X). While his career was spent at Institute, he also taught elsewhere, especially during sabbatical leave, and was in much demand as a visiting lecturer.

This series consists largely of lecture notes, mostly by Dr. Glass but including some by other specialists in areas such as boundary layer and wing theory. Included are assignments, problem sets, examination questions, course evaluations by students, and a single file on the Institute's Gasdynamics Group (1975-1984).

This series begins with the surviving lecture files from the year (1957-1958) Dr. Glass taught at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London while on sabbatical. Next are his teacher and course evaluations at the University of Toronto (1969-1980); general examination files (1955-1967); and lecture notes, problems sets and examinations, grouped by course and arranged, as far as possible, chronologically within each course. The principal courses are: advanced mechanics, aerodynamic measurements, boundary layer theory, dynamics of space flight, wing theory, gasdynamics, and shock waves. The files begin in 1950 and end in 1984, the year of Dr. Glass' retirement.

Course notes

Irvine Glass entered the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto as an undergraduate in the fall of 1938. He left at the end of his second year to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, where he served as an aeronautical engineer and wireless air gunner. In the fall of 1945, he was back on campus. His principal courses now were in engineering mechanics, aircraft design and heat engines, and he graduated with honours in aeronautical engineering in 1947. He enrolled in graduate studies in the fall, at the same time acting as an instructor at the Subsonic Wind Tunnel at the University of Toronto. He obtained his MASc in the spring of 1948 and in the fall enrolled as a doctoral student under Gordon Patterson in the new Institute of Aerophysics, where he specialized in the study of the effect of shock waves. The title of his doctoral thesis is "The design and development of a wave interaction tube for the study of non-linear waves."

This series contains course notes and laboratory notes; problem sets, including one from his doctoral program on the absorption of shock waves; seminars on the kinetic theory of gases and blast time in supersonic wind tunnels that he conducted in 1950; and a copy of his doctoral thesis. The arrangement is by academic year and alphabetically by course within each year.

Research and research contract files

Dr. Glass kept a number of research files, which he arranged by subject, but most relate to research contracts with Canadian and American government agencies.

The general research files include lab books from the early 1950s, and correspondence, research proposals, notes, research data, and photoprints from 1950 to 1981. Dr. Glass provided titles such as "spherical shock tubes", "spherical explosions", and "sonic boom", the material on the last topic, in particular, being related to the research projects mentioned below. Dr. Glass also maintained files on the following granting agencies: the Canada Council, the National Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Connaught Research Fund at the University of Toronto.

The greatest volume of material in this series relates to research projects funded by government agencies. They are arranged by the name of the agency and by the contract(s) for each. The Canadian contracts were with AECL, Transport Canada, the Defence Research Establishment (Sheffield, Alberta), and Pratt and Whitney Canada. American contracts were with the Defence Nuclear Agency, NASA, and the research offices of the Air Force, Army and Navy. There are three research proposals, for which funding apparently was not granted, in this series, and two review reports for research projects by others.


This series contains Dr. Glass' extensive correspondence files on a wide variety of personal and professional issues. The arrangement by broad topics (consulting, 1955-1982; "personal" correspondence from his office, 1950-1969), then general correspondence, filed chronologically (1959-1987), and finally by alphabetically by name of organization for the files relating to Dr. Glass' involvement in Jewish issues.

The last category begins with files on Canada-Israel cultural exchange, including the work of the Canada-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry (1972-1981). These are followed by files of the University of Toronto chapter of Canadian Professors for Peace in the Middle East (1974-1987), but the greatest volume relates to the conditions of Jews in the Soviet Union. Much of the work on this issue was done through the Canadian Academic Committee for Soviet Jewry and the Committee of Concerned Scientists, including its Canadian branch. Of particular concern was the treatment of the scientist, Benjamin Levich, in whose honour conferences were organized. Dr. Glass played a very active role in these events.

The files on Jewish issues contain, in addition to letters, press coverage, notes, memoranda, and minutes.

Student and related files

Dr. Glass maintained a series of files on his students, mostly those theses he supervised. He maintained a lively correspondence with many who later became significant academics and researchers in their own right. He also kept files on colleagues and visiting professors with which he was engaged directly in research or with whom he exchanged ideas.

The records contain correspondence, biographical data, notes, memoranda, and appraisals of research projects and theses.

Sabbatical leave and trips

Dr. Glass was granted sabbatical leave in 1957-1958, 1970-1971, and 1974-1975. His first leave was spent in England, primarily at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London. His proposed sabbatical leave for 1966-1967 had to be postponed and he took it in 1970-1971. He arranged a global trip, which took him to the 8th International Shock Tube Symposium in London and the International Symposium on the Dynamics of Ionized Gases in Tokyo.

In 1972 he began planning for his next sabbatical. It began in England, and continued through France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark. As his book, Shock Waves and Man, had recently appeared, he was much in demand both in academic and research (both military and civilian) circles as a speaker. He then went on to Israel, Iran, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Japan. While in Japan as a visiting professor, he attended the 10th International Shock Tube Symposium. He returned to Toronto via Hawaii, San Francisco and Chicago, giving lectures and seminars as he went.

In addition to his sabbatical leaves, Dr. Glass travelled widely. His first major trip was to the USSR in 1961, with a side vacation to Israel. In 1963, he visited a number of universities in the mid and western United States. In 1965, he was back in Europe attending the VII Symposium on Advanced Problems and Methods in Fluid Dynamics in Poland. In 1980, he made another tour of the Far East, visiting China as a guest of the Academy of Sciences, and then going on to Japan. In 1985, he made a return visit, receiving an "honorary professoriate" from the Nanjing Aeronautical Institute.

The files contain correspondence, calendars and diaries, notes, research notes, conference programs, abstracts, drafts of lectures and addresses, and photoprints. There is extensive material on the symposia mentioned above.

Irvine Israel Glass fonds

  • UTA 1313
  • Fonds
  • 1938-1994

Fonds consists of records documenting the career of Irvine Glass as a specialist in shock waves, a professor and administrator at the Institute for Aerospace Studies and his personal interest in the Jewish peoples through his involvement, in particular, with Canadian Professors for Peace in the Middle East, the Committee of Concerned Scientists, and the Sino-Judaic Institute.

See accession-level descriptions and finding aids for further details.

Glass, Irvine Israel

Glass 1994 accession

Biographical files, correspondence, course notes, lecture notes, research files, addresses, manuscripts and publications, photographs and slides, audio tapes and film documenting the career of Irvine Glass as a specialist in shock waves and a professor and administrator at the Institute for Aerospace Studies. There are extensive files on his research interests (including the American space program), professional associations and conferences, sabbatical leaves and trips, and on his personal involvement in Jewish issues through the Canada-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Canadian Professors for Peace in the Middle East, and the Committee of Concerned Scientists.

Anyone researching Dr. Glass' career will find the several versions of his curriculum vitae in box 001, file 01 useful in gaining an overall view of his career and in determining what he regarded as significant at various stages in it.

Personal files

This small series contains Dr. Glass' curriculum vitae, entries for biographical dictionaries, press clippings and articles; appointment calendars for 1974 and 1976; files from his employment as a stress analysts at Canadair (1945) and in 1947 as an aeronautical engineer with the Canadian Car and Foundry; and a file containing an offer of a position at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology (1971-1972).