Professor of Chemistry, Otto Maass Chemistry Building, Montreal.



  • Near the end of World War Two when the Russians and Allies were closing in on Berlin, Bryan Clifford Sanctuary was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire. His father Clifford, working for the RAF as a bomb engineer, received news of his son’s birth over the military network while stationed in France. In his childhood years, he attended Arundyl House School for boys in Surbiton, Surrey, England.
  • In 1954 his father got a job with Decca Radar in Toronto. In that year the family, including Bryan (9 years-old), sailed from Southampton to New York at the company’s expense. The company provided first class travel on the Queen Mary ocean liner allowing the Sanctuary family a chance to hobnob and aspire with a class from which they were far removed.
  • They arrived in Toronto in the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel. Bryan and his sister Cathey went to elementary school in Toronto until 1958 when his parents divorced. He moved to Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island as a result. Bryan eventually graduated from Delbrook High in North Vancouver in 1963. Here is his 40-year class reunion.
  • Perhaps the person who had the greatest positive effect on Bryan was his maternal grandfather, John (Jack) Hornby Pollard, who was a skilled wood carver and cabinet maker. He used to cut all the dove-tail joints by hand and boiled fish glue for them. Pampa loved to say, “A poor workman always blames his tools.” He played billiards with Bryan and had a pint of Guinness every day. In those days, Bryan was a bit of a hippie.


  • As a freshman at the University of British Columbia, UBC, Bryan decided on a chemistry degree. In the summer of 1965, he was hired by Professor Elmer Ogryzlo and had his first paper written which experimentally proved the existence of double molecules in the gas phase. It was around the same time with the Beatles singing "She loves me", that he met his future wife, Mingy Woo.
  • While on summer vacation from university, he worked in a logging camp on the coast of BC. He set chokers, sorted logs with pipe-poles, hooked for a cat, broke up log jams, operated a tug to pull booms, fell in the water a lot, lost equipment in the water, got sick on plug tobacco, got punched out by an angry logger and was chased by a grizzly bear.
  • In the summer of ’66 he worked with Professor Robert F. Snider, who later became his research director. It was at this time that he decided to do theory, influenced by Bob who also introduced him of viewing the physical sciences geometrically and taught him the power of Irreducible Cartesian tensors. It was Bob who taught him density matrix theory and the statistical interpretation of the wave function. Around the same time, in his graduate studies and post doc to follow, Bryan was greatly influenced by Professor John Coope who was working on Cartesian tensors with Bob. Bob and John always had time and patience to answer the questions Bryan raised.
  • With Bob Snider as his supervisor, Bryan's graduate work involved deriving a quantum mechanical Boltzmann equation that described non-degenerate quantum states which was an extension of the Walman-Snider Bolzmann equation. This involved treating the position and momentum by a Wigner-distribution function and the quantum internal states by a density operator. He applied this to the experimental work of Ronald Dong, who was a graduate student for Professor Myer Bloom at UBC’s physics department (another great positive influence on him). Ronald’s work was in gas phase NMR and it was there that Bryan got interested in that field.
  • Also in physics, Professor Fred Kaempffer taught him quantum mechanics and general relativity. Kaemffper was a remarkable man. He was a husky German who limped around due to a wound he got in the 2nd World War. Before lecturing, he would pace up and down outside the classroom. As the bell rang to signify the start of class, he would start talking as he entered, carrying only a piece of chalk -no notes- and teach the class about covariant and contravarient tensors. Upon entering, he would start to talk exactly where he had left off the previous class. He entertained no questions. As the bell rang at the end of class, he would walk out still talking, only to appear the following class to finish off the sentence that trailed off into the halls as he left. Professor Kaempffer was a consultant on black holles for the 2001 Space Odessy: in the end, the hero goes into a black hole.
  • Due to Bryan's background, he wanted to go to Leiden, Holland to work in the molecular physics group of Jan Beenakker. He chose the Leiden group because the quantum mechanical Boltzmann equation was well suited to study the small effects of non-spherical molecules on transport properties of gases in a magnetic or electric field (the Sentfleben-Beenakker Effects). Unfortunately the group had no funding. John Coope came to the rescue and provided a post doc salary for him for six months while John was on sabbatical in France. With John’s help, Bryan was able to understand the experimental results of a phenomenon called the thermomagnetic torque. The annular region between two concentric cylinders was filled with a non-spherical gas (like hydrogen deuteride). A magnetic field was applied along the cylinder’s axis and the inner and outer cylinders were maintained at different temperatures. Under these conditions, a torque was detected relative to the two cylinders—about the same size as a mosquito jumping tangentially from a commercial cylinder of CO2 hanging from a wire! The amazing thing about the theory that explained all the data was that quantum effects actually showed up in a gas kinetic system. You can do spectroscopy with quantum kinetic theory (if there were not easier ways)!!
  • This research led to Jan Beenakker extending Bryan’s project for two more years, funded by FOM, a Dutch funding agent. Holland was a tranquil time of discovery, enjoyment and travel. His two sons were born there as well. Eventually he had to find a job.
  • The thermomagnetic torque was good fodder for a talk and in 1974 Professor Vedene Smith of Queen’s university, organizing the Canadian Symposium of Theoretical Chemistry, invited him to give a lecture.
  • Likely, this talk along with his research led him to get his first faculty position at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in the Theoretical Chemistry Institute run by Professor Joe Hirschfelder. Joe got his PhD with Henry Eyring and Professor Chuck Curtiss got his PhD with Joe. Chuck was the research director of Bob Snider—so that is Bryan’s academic lineage.
  • Madison was a great place to live and raise a young family. They had a big old ginger bread house right next to Lake Wingra. However, having two young sons in the USA in the post-Vietnam war era, and not wanting them to grow up only to have to fight in another ill-fated US war, made him seek employment in Canada.
  • He joined McGill University’s chemistry department in 1976. In that year the separatists came to power which led to thirty years of uncertainty described as a “never ending visit to the dentist” (one of the many colourful statements made by former Premier of Quebec, separatist Jacques Parizeau). The picture shows him waving goodbye after the defeat of the 1995 referendum for separation which, in a racial slur, he attributed to “money and the ethnic vote”. He was forced to resign.
  • Bryan is now a full-time professor at McGill University and his research is funded by NSERC, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.



  • The next thirty years involved three sabbatical leaves. The first in 1981-2 at the University of York, England. It was on that leave that the spherical tensor approach to NMR, called multipole NMR, was developed. This was ushered in by the tremendous advances in NMR of that era, notably by the Nobel Laureate, Richard Ernst. He, amongst many things, showed the utility and feasibility of 2D NMR. Ernst, like many of his time, had a great positive influence on Bryan along with Jean Jenner. In York, Dr. Tom Halstead did solid state NMR and the tensor theory was well suited to explain all the solid echoes that were observed.
  • In the second sabbatical, at the Australian National University in Canberra, he worked with Larry Brown and got an interest in studying NMR of proteins. Hiring a post doc, Xu Jun, they developed an algorithm based upon graph theory and fuzzy mathematics to extract the patterns from 2D NMR of proteins. This was licensed to TRIPOS Inc. under the name CAPRI (Computer Assisted Peak Resonance Identification).
  • Following this work, Dr. Sanctuary continued with refinements of protein NMR with two graduate students, Li Kwo Bin and James Choy. The former extended CAPRI to 3D NMR and the latter improved the “super graphs” used to identify the NMR 2D graphs by taking into account the chemical shifts in different environments.
  • In spite of its great success and enormous range of applications, the NMR theory had become theoretically well founded by 1997. It appeared to be moving more into that of a highly developed and useful technique. The exciting developments of the previous forty years appeared to be over. Professor Sanctuary wrote a couple of review and decided to do less NMR research in favour of doing more fundamental work with spins. In 2005, however, the spherical tensor methods began to find utility in the NMR experimental work of solids and this renewed his interest. In particular the different ways that spins couple needed work. Also the complicated and messy Clebsch-Gordan algebra became too unweildly and the diagramatic methods of Yutis helped to simplify and visualize these multispin systems. He collaborated with Dr. Francis Temme on this work.
  • A sabbatical leave in 1996-97 saw a return to Leiden, Holland to the physics department. Some work was done on spin conversion problems (like ortho-para hydrogen, but with different systems), but nothing was published. He did, however, develop an interest in the use of multimedia for teaching which began in the early days of personal computers using Windows in 1993. This led, in 1995, to the formation of a company, MCH Multimedia Inc. (MCH being the initials of his three children, Mark, Colin and Hillary).
  • The success of the use of multimedia in the classroom motivated Bryan to make these commercially available.
  • The first, General Chemistry, was published in 1997, but it was not until the improvement of the development tools: Macromedia Authorware, Flash and on-line shops, that the products were improved and won awards (2002). Professor Sanctuary wrote three such multimedia books: Introductory (high school) and General Chemistry (college and university), Organic Chemistry (university) and General Physics (college and university). About the same time, he was accepted as author on the Houghton Mifflin’s Physical Chemistry text by Laidler, Meiser and Sanctuary. In addition, MCH received the contract to do 10 of the 18 chapters in multimedia. This multimedia won the 2003 Eddie Award for the best educational software at the post-secondary level.
  • A perennial problem in teaching large service courses to life science students is making them keep up. My entreating them to keep up and giving problem sets generally do not work. They wait until the last minute to cram and copy problem sets. In 2017, using random number generators in MyCourses to produce quizzes, the problem was solved. All students had to do their own problems since the numerical value of each was different for every student. These 15 problems sets, due weekly, comprised 15% of grade. The results were remarkable, with the students scoring high with difficult exams. I wish I had had this tool 40 years agol
  • In 2012 I purchased a farm 100 km from Montreal, in preparation for retirement. It actually took longer than I expected, and I retired finally in August of 2019. Now I grow fruit, berries and hay on an 11 acre farm.

    The 2D spin and its exchange spin . VIEW DOWNLOAD

    Here is seen the two dimensional spin in its own body fixed coordinate system. Since the two axes of spin quantization are indistinguishable in the absence of any interactions, the new spin of √2 forms. This is a hermitian state with magnitude which is √2 larger than the usually point particle spin of quantum theory.

    This movie shows how the quantum phase, in the y-axis, orients the 2D spin in 3D space and the two orientations form the resonance or exchange spin.

    Note that the √2 spin can form in any of the quadrants and, since its eigenvalues are the same in each, each orientation of the spin is indistiguishable, leading to degeneracy of physical reality.

    The isolated resonance exchange spin of zero angular momentum—a Magnetic MonopoleVIEW DOWNLOAD

    An isolated spin ½ forms a resonance or exchange spin which cannot be obtained from quantum mechanics. It can only be obtained by allowing for non-hermitian states. Moreover, the new resonance spin is the square root of 2 larger than the usual spin ½, and this is the source of the correlations that leads to violation of Bell's Inequalities.

    This new spin can be oriented in any of its body fixed coordinate quadrants and this resonance state leads to an average net angular momentum of zero. That is, this isolated spin resonance has the properties of a magnetic monopole!

    Since each √2 spin is degenerate, then physical reality at the microscopic level is different from that in our macroscopic world because of indistinguishability.

    The 2D spin near a magnetic probe which destroys the √2 spin and restores the usual spin ½VIEW DOWNLOAD

    As soon as the √2 spin feels the interaction from a probe, its axes become distinguishable and the √2 spin cannot form. It leads to the usual point particle of spin ½ that we normally deal with in quantum theory.


    Separable Bell States DOWNLOAD


    With his Italian friends, in October, they go down to the grape market in the Jean-Talon area of Montreal and, while Bryan stands around saying nothing and trying to look Italian, he lets them bargain. Mostly they buy alicante, muscata and what ever is a good deal. These are fermented and pressed, then aged as long as the supply is large. Some like the wine and others do not. C'est la vie!


    When five years old, his father, sitting in the garden of a pub in England, gave Bryan a taste of his Yorkshire Bitter. He screwed up his face in response, to which he father replied, “One day you will love it!” It is hard to get good English beer in Canada, but one can buy the English malt and hops, boil it up and ferment a brew. He makes Yorkshire Bitter and Guiness, puts these in pressurized kegs and stores it in a fridge that has two spigot’s on the front. This is popular.


    Greatly appreciate a friend who introduced Bryan to orchid growing, he now has a greenhouse and grows orchids (see the photo section). In the greenhouse, he also grows spices, mint and various types of hot peppers.


    Likely motivated by his maternal grandfather who was a cabinet maker and wood carver, Bryan has developed an interest in the English walnut period (1660-1740). He also collects antique clocks and has a collection of old watches.


    As a teenager living in the raucous town of Alert Bay, B.C., he met a man called Ken Lamb and his wife, Shawn Lamb. Ken played the banjo and taught Bryan. Bryan later started picking and following the folk music popularity of the time, with Pete Seeger being his favorite. Later he played in hoot-nannies and was a regular in the 1960’s at the Inquisition Coffee House on Seymour Street in Vancouver. He played folk guitar and banjo and sang folksongs for $10 a night.


    In his early 20’s, Bryan started to play the classical guitar. He let it slide for many years, but recently took it up again.


    The Sanctuary name is rare and with the help of others, has got the Sanctuary line back to Norfolk in 1375. It is a single line that started in Swaffham, Norfolk and spread out. There are about 1000 in total. One branch came to Canada in the 1850’s and settled in Montreal. They lived in the house, which Bryan now owns, from 1879 to 1923. That line of the family has died out. Our common ancestor dates back to 1725.

    George Frederick Sanctuary (g-grandfaterh), Anna Maria Broadly (g-grandmother), Left to right, standing: Thomas Arnold, Rawson, Edith Alice, Willian Thomas (gradfather called Tom), On grass, Clifford Ewart, in chair, Annie Louise; in the garden on George Street, Saltaire, Yorkshire about 1897. Not shown, and not born, is Jack who was born in 1903.

    There is one branch of the family that is not part of his but bears the same name. In Quebec, Gerald Santorie fought with the French on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. After the British defeated the French, Gerald moved to Montreal and anglicized his name to Sanctuary. Those that stayed in Quebec, changed their name back to Santorie, but those that left for the USA (and they multiplied considerably) maintained the name Sanctuary. They have no connection to Bryan’s line.


    Cross country skiing and downhill, were popular especially as his children were young. In recent years, he only skis when he meets his children, usually in Switzerland, where two of them live. Previously, most of the skiing was done in the Laurentian hills, North of Montreal, where they had a country house.


    Started doing this in the 1990’s again motivated by his mountaineering children. He had a friend, Paul Scott, with whom he practiced. Did not do too much: best was a three pitch, 5.9.


    Frequently goes hicking in the woods or canoe camping, mostly in Canada.


    Was trained as Padi open water with his three children in 1989 in Maui on their way to a sabbatical in Australia. Went to the Great Barrier Reef and did other outings later. Now out of practice, but takes a re-fresher course when on vacation in the tropics.


    In his earlier life, he did a lot of bad renovations on the various houses he owned. This changed with his present house, purchased in May of 2004 and, as mentioned above, was lived in by a branch of his family from 1879 to 1923. This house, 10 minutes to McGill and in the Shaughnessy Village, has many of the original features. With the help of an interior decorator and skilled trades people, he had the house resorted to its former glory. The ceiling moldings were stripped so the 120 years of paint build-up was removed. All the wood was stripped, the antique radiators were sand blasted, and the 2.5 inch thick original pine floors were restored. The bathrooms and kitchens are modern but the rest remain the same as much as possible. The three fireplaces work, two gas and one wood. The outside of the house was cleaned and tuck-pointed; the roof was restored with slate and copper; the woodwork was restored and replaced in the Victorian style and external lighting brightens the place up.