Tim Dauphinee’s 100th Birthday!

Tim Dauphinee dedicated his career to the field of precision measurement of physical parameters such as temperature, pressure and thermal conductivity of materials. In later years his interest broadened to include the measurement of oceanographic parameters such as conductivity, practical salinity. His work led to more than twenty five Canadian and U.S. Patents, several very successful commercial products which were produced in collaboration with Guildline Instruments Ltd. of Smith Falls, Canada and publications in a number of prestigious international journals.

In the late 1960s, the oceanographic community was seeking an instrument that could measure continuous profiles of the temperature and salinity through the water column instead of rely on a discontinuous series of sample bottles and reversing thermometers. Tim’s first Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) in situ device was among the first 2-3 instruments developed and put into use by the oceanographic community. Tim continued to develop upgrades to this instrument in association with Guildline Instruments over the next two decades.

This work led to his development of a precision laboratory salinometer, the Autosal, that quickly became the “gold standard” in oceanographic establishments around the world. Not only is it a superb laboratory instrument but it has proven sufficiently robust that it can be taken to sea and used for precision measurements with confidence. The superiority of the Autosal was demonstrated in 1974 during the international GATE (Global Atmospheric Research Experiment – Atlantic Tropical Experiment) program where salinity samples were distributed to all of the oceanographic institutes that participated. The first commercial unit was sold that year. Forty-two years later over 500 have been sold and Guildline continues to receive orders for them at the rate of 12 to 13 per year

Salinity was originally based on the chlorinity content of the water as determined by titration. Tim Dauphinee was a member of an expert panel that was established by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Ocean to redefine salinity in terms of the conductivity, temperature and pressure. This task also included the definition of properties such as density, a speed of sound, etc in terms of the newly defined Practical Salinity Scale (PSS-1978).

Ten years ago I dedicated this web-site to his memory but didn’t realize that he was still alive. Nowadays Tim Dauphinee is reaching an incredible milestone – Centennial Birthday, which will be celebrated on 3rd July 2016. Happy 100th Birthday, Tim! You are the salt of the Earth! Wish you a healthy and peaceful life!


Together with Tim at his Centannial Birthday morning in his apartment in Toronto.
Together with Tim at Centennial Birthday in his apartment in Toronto. On the table are the NRC Centennial medal and my Centennial Salt of the Earth mosaic.