Burke-Gaffney, M.W.

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Born:             17 Dec 1896, Dublin, Ireland

Died:              14 Jan 1979, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Field:             Engineer, Priest, Astronomer



Burke-Gaffney came to Canada in 1920. He studied at Georgetown University in Washington, where he earned a Master’s Degree in 1933, and then a Doctorate of Astronomy in 1935. After finishing his formal education, he became a lecturer of astronomy at Regis College in Toronto, Ontario from 1935 to 1939. Father Burke-Gaffney also taught in Regina and in Winnipeg before becoming a full-time faculty member of the Jesuit-run Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was the Dean of Engineering from 1940-1948, as well as the Dean of Science for four years. He was a professor of Applied Science from 1948-1955, then taught Astronomy until 1965 when he became professor emeritus and special lecturer.

In the course of his scientific career, Father Burke-Gaffney wrote numerous journal articles and several books. Between lecturing and writing, Father Burke-Gaffney was a member of many clubs and associations, including: the Canadian Committee of the International Astronomical Union; Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute; Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia, to which he was awarded an honorary lifetime membership in 1967; Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, from which he won a Service Medal in 1964; International Academy of the History of Science, where he served as a corresponding member in 1950 and was elected honorary president in 1951.


Michael Walter Burke-Gaffney