Gauvin earned his PhD in physical chemistry from McGill University in 1945 (see also Chemistry Subdisciplines). He continued his association with that university throughout his life, first as an associate professor of chemical engineering, and later as a research associate. He was a member of McGill’s board of governors, the National Research Council (1964–70) and the Science Council of Canada (1966–70), and a frequent adviser to both the federal and Quebec governments. A man of boundless energy and enthusiasm, Gauvin was consultant and then head of the chemical engineering division of the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (1951–61), and his research work with Noranda Research Centre (1961–83) has been a source of inspiration to many.
His publications include more than 150 papers on electrochemistry, high-temperature heat and mass transfer, fluid mechanics and plasma technology. Additionally, he made generous contributions to the development of the chemical engineering profession in his roles as member and chairman of professional associations in Canada and beyond. He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1975 and was awarded the Thomas W. Eadie Medal of the Royal Society of Canada in 1986.