Katz Memorial lecturer to consider molecules, meaning and the prepared mind

More than most fields of science, the study of atmospheric chemistry and climate change presents examples of chance favouring the prepared mind. Climate change researchers deal with phenomena that are seen but not known. Contemporary issues in atmospheric pollution and change have been profoundly influenced by the perception of the problem and by reasoning from analogy.

Dr. Tee Guidotti (right), a physician working in occupational and environmental health, has also been a consultant in environmental and occupational health & medicine since taking early retirement from his position as a professor at The George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, DC. As this year’s Morris Katz Memorial lecturer, Guidotti will examine how thinking outside of the box is more than a cliché when it comes to atmospheric chemistry and climate change. He will look at how progress in this field of inquiry has depended critically on openness to new ways of thinking, some of which have been counter-intuitive.

The Morris Katz Memorial Lecture will take place tomorrow, Sept. 16, at 2:30pm in the Senate Chamber, N940, Ross Building, on York’s Keele campus.

Guidotti will present cases from occupational health and airborne hazards, ambient air pollution and global atmospheric change to demonstrate how evolving perception has been both driven by and is productive of new insights into health effects of exposure. 

He is the former chair of the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health in the School of Public Health & Health Services at The George Washington University. Guidotti’s primary interests are occupational and environmental lung disorders, inhalation toxicology, air quality, ecosystem and human health, and the evaluation of scientific evidence for legal and policy applications.

Guidotti first became interested in air quality studies while growing up in Los Angeles, where he obtained his BS from the University of Southern California. He trained in inhalation toxicology during his medical school career at the University of California, San Diego and wrote his thesis in nitrogen dioxide toxicity. Trained in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine and occupational medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Guidotti became board certified in each medical speciality. He was professor of occupational and environmental medicine at the University of Alberta for 14 years, during which he was a Killam Annual Professor.

During his career in Alberta he was heavily involved in air quality issues and served on numerous advisory panels, in consultant positions and as an advocate for research and training in air quality studies and inhalation toxicology. He has engaged in laboratory research on acute hydrogen sulfide toxicity and epidemiological studies on other air toxins. Guidotti worked extensively with the Clean Air Strategic Alliance. He served as co-chair of the Science Advisory Panel to the Western Canada Study on Animal & Human Health Effects Associated with Exposure to Flare Emissions, a massive six-year, $12-million study that delivered its report in 2006 on health effects on cattle and wildlife downwind of gas facilities.

For more information about the lecture visit the Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry Web site, or contact Carol Weldon, administrative assistant at York’s Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, at weldoncv@yorku.ca or ext. 55410. 

Major contributions in support of this year’s lecture have been made by York’s Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry and Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment.

About Morris Katz

Morris Katz, 1901-1987, was an outstanding scientist. He spent 35 years in public service, where he pioneered air pollutant sampling and measurement methodology and was among the first to demonstrate the presence of ozone damage to vegetation in Ontario. He taught chemistry at York until his death. He authored or co-authored more than 150 books and articles and was the recipient of numerous awards for his work. The Morris Katz Lectureship was made possible by the establishment of an endowment fund created through contributions from his family, friends and colleagues, private companies, universities and government. Major contributions in support of this year’s lecture have been made by York’s Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

About York’s Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry

The Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry was established in 1985 in response to a growing public concern about the atmospheric environment. It offers programs that provide students with the necessary theoretical background and practical laboratory experience to enable them to make meaningful contributions to important environmental concerns upon their graduation. York also offers MSc and PhD degrees in atmospheric chemistry.