Cyril Stanley Smith

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For other persons with the name Cyril Smith, see Cyril Smith (disambiguation).
Cyril Stanley Smith
Cyril Smith Los Alamos ID.png
Born October 4, 1903
Birmingham, England
Died August 25, 1992
Nationality England
Education University of Birmingham
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering career
Significant projects Manhattan Project
Significant advance metallurgy
production of fissionable metals

Cyril Stanley Smith (October 4, 1903–August 25, 1992) was a renowned metallurgist and historian of science.[1] Smith is perhaps most famous for his work on the Manhattan Project where he was responsible for the production of fissionable metals.

Smith was born in Birmingham, England and studied metallurgy at the University of Birmingham (BSc) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sc.D, 1926). Following his doctorate Smith took up a research post at the American Brass Company. In 1942 he was called into service at the War Metallurgy Committee hosted in Washington. He soon transferred to the Los Alamos National Laboratory to work on the Manhattan Project. He was awarded the Medal for Merit by the U.S. President for these activities in 1946. He would later go on to receive the Franklin Institute's Francis J. Clamer Medal in 1952.

After the war he founded the Institute for the Study of Metals at the University of Chicago. He moved to MIT as an Institute Professor in 1961, with appointments in both the Departments of Humanities and Metallurgy. His focus was to transplant the techniques of metallurgy into the study of the production methods used to create artifacts discovered by archaeologists.

Smith later published several works linking the arts with the sciences. He died of cancer in his Cambridge, Massachusetts home aged 88. He was survived by his wife of sixty years (Alice Kimball Smith, a historian of science) and two children.

Selected works[edit]

  • History of Metallography: The Development of Ideas on the Structure of Metals Before 1890, 1988, ISBN 0-262-69120-5, MIT Press.
  • From Art to Science 1982, ISBN 0-262-19181-4, MIT Press.
  • Search for Structure: Selected Essays on Science, Art and History 1981, ISBN 0-262-19191-1, MIT Press.
  • Vannocio Biringuccio. The Pirotechnia of Vanoccio Biringuccio (in Italian). Dover. ISBN 0-486-26134-4.  20th Century translation by Cyril Stanley Smith and Martha Teach Gnudi


  1. ^ Smoluchowski, Roman (June 1993). "Obituary: Cyril S. Smith". Physics Today 46 (6): 110–111. doi:10.1063/1.2808951. 

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