Born: 14 Mar 1903, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia
Died: Jan 1954, Halifax, Nova Scotia
In 1942, Coffin was made Head of the Chemistry Department at Dalhousie University, holding the McLeod Chair of Chemistry for two years, and was then appointed to the newly established Harry Shirreff Chair of Chemical Research.
At Dalhousie, Coffin and his students carried out work of great importance. A series of twelve papers on the kinetics of the decomposition of esters played an important part in the development of chemical kinetics, and in particular in the theory of unimolecular reactions. Other major fields of work produced investi gations on “explosive” antimony, on the development of a new method of calorimetry, and a variety of papers on development of experimental methods. He built up over the years a notable school of physical chemistry at Dalhousie.
Coffin had a great influence on the development of Canadian chemistry, and in particular on the development of scientific research at Dalhousie. In recognition of his attainments he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Canada in 1935 at the early age of 32.