He was born in Caithness, Scotland and educated at Morgan Academy, Dundee. He graduated from St Andrews University with an MA in Mathematics and a BSc in Physics in 1929 and then spent 2 years at Cambridge University doing experimental work on infrared spectra, followed by 2 years at the University of Michigan.
He returned in 1933 to work at Cambridge until the Second World War, when he was employed by the Ministry of Supply on bomb disposal techniques and at Cambridge developing the use of infrared spectroscopy for fuel analysis. In 1949 he returned to the University of Michigan as Professor of Physics in order to continue his work on infrared spectroscopy, helping to establish the technique as a general analysis tool. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1949  and knighted in 1960.
- Sheppard, N. (1982). "Gordon Brims Black McIvor Sutherland. 8 April 1907 – 27 June 1980". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 28: 588. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1982.0023. JSTOR 769912.
- "Sir Gordon Brims Black McIvor Sutherland". NPL. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Fellows details". Royal Society. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Sir Gordon Sutherland (1907-1980)". Emmanuel College. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
| Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge
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