Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Dr. David T. Suzuki (born March 24, 1936) is a Vancouver-born Canadian geneticist who has attained prominence as a science broadcaster and an environmental activist. He is also a co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.
David Takayoshi Suzuki and his twin sister Marcia were born to Setsu and Kaoru Carr Suzuki. Suzuki's maternal and paternal grandparents immigrated to Canada around the beginning of the 20th century.
A third-generation Japanese-Canadian (“Canadian Sansei”), Suzuki and his family suffered internment in British Columbia during the Second World War from when he was six (1942) until after the war ended. In June 1942, the government sold the Suzuki family's dry-cleaning business, then interned Suzuki, his mother and two sisters in a camp in the Slocan Valley in the BC Interior. His father had been sent to a labour camp in Solsqua, two months earlier. Suzuki's sister, Dawn, was born in the internment camp.
Suzuki attended Mill Street Elementary School and Grade 9 at Leamington Secondary School, before he moved to London where he attended Central Secondary School.
Early in his research career he studied genetics, using the popular model organism Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies). To be able to use his initials in naming any new genes he found, he studied Drosophila temperature-sensitive phenotypes (DTS). (As he jokingly noted at a lecture at Johns Hopkins University, the only alternative was darn tough skin.) He gained several international awards for his research into these mutations.
He has been presented honourary degrees (all doctorates) from schools in Canada, The United States and Australia. He has notably received an honourary doctorate from Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada), a nationally-renowned centre for environmental studies and activism.
Since 1979, Suzuki has hosted The Nature of Things, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television show that has aired in nearly 50 countries worldwide. He was also the host of the PBS series The Secret of Life. He was a professor in the zoology department at the University of British Columbia for over 30 years (from 1969 until his retirement in 2001), and has since been professor emeritus at a university research institute. A Planet for the Taking, a 1985 hit series, averaged over 1.8 million viewers per episode and earned him a United Nations Environment Program Medal in 1985.
Awards & Honours
Suzuki is the author of 32 books (15 for children), including Genethics, Wisdom of the Elders, Inventing the Future, and the best-selling Looking At series of children’s science books.
In 2004, David Suzuki was nominated as one of the top 10 "Greatest Canadians" by viewers of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In the final vote he finished fifth. Suzuki said his own vote went to Tommy Douglas who was the eventual winner.
Suzuki was the first private Canadian consumer to purchase an electronic hybrid vehicle .
Suzuki was married to Setsuko Joane Sunahara from 1958 to 1965, with three children (Tamiko, Laura, and Troy). He married Tara Elizabeth Cullis in 1972. They have two daughters: Severn and Sarika Cullis-Suzuki. His Japanese name is Suzuki Takayoshi, but he is always known by his English name to the public, even in Japanese scientific and popular literature (using Romaji).
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