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Morris Katz Memorial Lecture in Environmental Research

This lecture created by the Chemistry Department in 1990, is sponsored by York Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry (CAC) and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (OME) and is organized by CAC.  The purpose of the lecture is to stimulate research in environmental science. The next lecture is on May 16, 2014.

Morris Katz Biography (1901-1987)

Morris Katz was an outstanding scientist with a warm, jovial personality; he was compassionate and sensitive to the needs of others and he believed in the equality of all people.  many of us are benefactors of his determination and courage to seek the best for his students, staff and those about him.  He was truly a 20th century pioneer in air pollution research and technology.

Morris graduated from McGill in 1929 with a Ph.D. in the chemistry and biochemistry.  As a chemist for the National Research Council of Canada, he studied the effects of smelter fumes on vegetation in Trail, B.C.  This work, published in 1939, is a classic on the effects of air pollution on vegetation.

While working in the Canadian Public Service for 35 years, he pioneered air pollutant sampling and measurement methodology and was among the first to demonstrate the presence of ozone damage to vegetation in Ontario.

As an educator, he spent four years as a Professor of Chemistry at Syracuse University.  He then joined York where he remained as Professor, and Professor Emeritus of Chemistry until his death.

His work at York centered on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and their mutagenic properties.  He authored or co-authored more than 150 books and articles and received, among other awards, the Plummer Medal from the Engineering Institute of Canada in 1956, the Frank A Chambers Award from APCA in 1965 and the M.D. Thomas Gold Medal from the American Society for Testing and Materials in 1981.
List of some of Morris Katz' articles on the web. 

Morris Katz also served on many national and international committees including the World Health Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  He was a member and Fellow of several scientific and professional societies such as the Chemical Institute of Canada and the APCA.

It is thus only fitting that a memorial celebrating his life and dedication to science, be established at York University in the Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry.

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Updated on May 9th, 2014.