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September 04, 2004— Ottawa, Ontario

George J. Klein: The Great Inventor


This book is the official biography of George J. Klein, a design engineer considered "the most productive inventor in Canada in the 20th Century".

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This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of George J. Klein, the Hamilton-born design engineer who worked at NRC for over 40 years. Dr. Klein is often cited as the most productive inventor in Canada in the 20th century and his memory is being celebrated in many ways this year including the release of an official biography published by NRC Research Press and written by Dick Bourgeois-Doyle. Titled George J. Klein: The Great Inventor, the book is the second in a series of biographies that began with the well-received 2002 book Gerhard Herzberg: An Illustrious Life in Science.

An inductee of the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame, Dr. Klein was known as a kind, generous, and modest man, as well as an exceptionally productive and creative inventor.

Dr. Klein's numerous inventions included: the electric wheelchair for quadriplegics; the microsurgical staple gun; a wide range of industrial gearing systems; and internationally important innovations in aviation and space technologies. His early research, for example, made it practical to use skis on aircraft, and his later inventions included the STEM antenna, which became a renowned Canadian contribution to the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo Space programs.

George J. Klein
George J. Klein

Dr. Klein, who passed away in 1992 at the age of 88, headed the engineering team that designed ZEEP, Canada's first nuclear reactor, in the 1940s. He also contributed to many of the military inventions key to the allied efforts in World War II. At the age of 72, he was called out of retirement to act as chief consultant on gear design for the CANADARM project, and continued to further its development and related space technologies into his 80s. His life story is inspiring and instructive in many ways and is said "to make you proud to be Canadian."

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