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Chemistry professor elected to prestigious science body

James Donaldson has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

James Donaldson, a professor of chemistry at the University of Toronto Scarborough, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The honour was bestowed on him by peer members of the AAAS, who elect fellows in recognition of meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications.

Donaldson joined U of T Scarborough in 1988 and is a faculty member in the department of physical and environmental sciences. He is also a member of the graduate department of chemistry at the St. George campus, where he maintains his research lab.

“I was surprised, and very honoured,” Donaldson said in reaction to news of the AAAS fellowship. “I know several people who have received this distinction in the past, and I must say they are an impressive group.”

 “To be selected by one’s peers is the height of honour for any scholar, and we are delighted to hear that Jamie Donaldson has been recognized with fellowship in the AAAS,” said Prof. Don Cormack, chair of physical and environmental sciences. “This organization is highly esteemed by the international community of scholars and scientists, and so we offer him our sincerest congratulations on this good news.”

Donaldson is cited for his pioneering fundamental contributions to atmospheric and environmental chemistry. He is praised for his work, through teaching and research, on enhancing scientific understanding of sunlight-initiated environmental chemical processes with concepts and tools of physical chemistry. He focuses on atmospheric and environmental chemistry. Using techniques of physical chemistry, he employs linear and non-linear laser spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, highly sensitive piezoelectric microbalcances and analytic methods to probe and understand chemical interactions of atmospheric importance.

“I have always enjoyed discovering ‘new’ things and ideas,” said Donaldson. “Doing research in the general field of environmental chemistry is appealing, as one can ‘see’ the sorts of processes being studied. I am also very happy to have been lucky enough to act as a mentor to a group of extremely talented and motivated students and postdoctorals, and to have colleagues who are equally excited by their research.”

Donaldson notes that among the current AAAS fellows is his colleague, Prof. Tom Tidwell, an emeritus professor of chemistry at U of T Scarborough.

Three U of T professors were among the 471 new fellows named by the organization on Oct. 25. Professors Peter Zandstra, Canada Research Chair in Stem Call Bioengineering, and Jean Zu of mechanical and industrial engineering, were among the 471 new fellows named to the AAS on Oct. 25, along with Donaldson. 

The 2007 AAAS fellows will be honoured at the Fellows Forum on Feb. 16, 2008, during the organization’s annual meeting in Boston.

by Mary Ann Gratton (with files from Elaine Smith)


© University of Toronto Scarborough