Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Frank “Jack” Allen (1908-2001)


Born at Winnipeg on 5 May 1908, son of Frank Allen and Sarah Estelle “Sadie” Harper (1875-1915), he was educated at Kelvin High School then studied physics at the University of Manitoba before going on to graduate studies at the University of Toronto in 1929. In 1935 he went to study at Cambridge University in the UK, specializing in low-temperature phenomena. Two years later, he discovered superfluidity along with Pyotr L. Kapitza and A. Don Misener.

He was a Professor of Physics at St. Andrews University in Scotland from 1947 to 1978, during which time he held a Rockefeller fellowship at the California Institute of Technology at Pasadena. Appointed Head of the Physics Department of St. Andrews University in 1947, he was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1949. During the Second World War, he served as Acting Director of the Mond Laboratory, conducting experimental work and war research under two ministries of the British government.

In recognition of his contributions to science, he was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Manitoba (1979) and Heriot-Watt University at Edinburgh (1984).

He died on 22 April 2001.


Obituary, Nature, Volume 411, page 436, 2001.

Biography [John F. "Jack" Allen (1908-)], University of California (Davis).

We thank Paul Sharp for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Angela Graham, Sarah Ramsden, and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 February 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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