About the Author: David Suzuki '58

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Current Home
Vancouver, British Columbia


Place of Birth
Vancouver, British Columbia

Amherst College, 1958; Biology
University of Chicago, 1961; Ph.D. Zoology

Why did you choose to come to Amherst?
In Ontario at that time, strudents went though grade 13 before university.  I had a friend whose dad was the dean of commerce at the university of western ontario and who was an American. So John Thompson '57 went to Amherst at the end of grade 12 and I met him on the street when he was back in London, Ontario on holiday and he raved about Amherst and said I was the kind of student who should be there and sent me application forms. Unbeknownst to me, he saw Dean Wilson and told him I was the kind of student for Amherst and I was accepted with a scholarship worth more than my dad made in a year ($2000)!

Favorite (most memorable or most influential) class at Amherst:
Genetics taught by William Hexter. I fell madly in love with the precision and elegance of the science.  I had already been assured of a place in medical school at the university of Western Ontario in London (they took students after two years of undergrad if they were good) .  When I turned down the med school to go to grad school to study fruitflies, my mother wept for weeks.

Favorite (most memorable or most influential) professor:
Bill Hexter, obviously, but Oscar Schotte who taught embryology and Tom Yost who taught physiology were also terrific teachers.

Research Interests?
I was long interested in the exquisite precision of cell division and studied how genes control or affect this process.  I developed a way to isolate mutations that were sensitive to temperature so I could control gene expression by shifting temperature and it turned out to be a powerful tool.  Phil Ives at Amherst had studied the effects of temperature on gene expression in fruitflies decades before I began my career.

Favorite Book
Rachel Carson's Silent Spring changed the course of my career.

Favorite Author
Tom Wolfe

Tips for aspiring writers?
I've never considered myself a professional writer, I have ideas that I bomb ahead with presenting. I don't have any wisdom to pass on.

Tell us a bit about your path to becoming an author.
This is way too long a story to tell here but it was circuitous.

Awards and Prizes


2012 Thomas H. B. Symons Medal and Lecture, Confederation Centre for the Arts
2012 5th Annual Inamori Ethics Prize, Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, Case Western University
2011 Byron H. Waksman Award for Excellence in Life Science Communication, Waksman Foundation for Microbiology, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania USA
2009 The Right Livelihood Honorary Award, Stockholm, Sweden
2008 Honourary Advanced Alternative Energy/Engineering Diploma, Lambton College, Sarnia, Ontario
2000 Lifetime Achievement Award, University of British Columbia Alumni Association
1992 Commemorative Medal, 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation
1992 MacLachlan Great Canadian Medal, MacLachlan College & Preparatory School
1990 Wiegand Award for Canadian Excellence, University of Waterloo
1986 Gold Medal Award, Biological Council of Canada
1981 Honorary Fellow Ryerson University
1981 BC Science and Engineering Gold Medal, Science Council of B.C., Natural Sciences Division
1979 Honorary Diploma, Dawson College, Montreal, Quebec
1979 Award of Distinction, Northwest Institute of Ethics and the Life Sciences
1978 Honorary Guild Shield, Conestoga College, Kitchener, Ontario
1974 Honorary Life Membership for Teaching Achievements, University of British Columbia Alumni Association


2012 Hon. Doctorate of Laws, University of Guelph
2011 Hon. Doctor of Science, UBC, Canada
2011 Hon. Doctorate, Laval U., Canada
2010 Hon. Doctor of Environmental Science, Universite Sainte-Anne, Canada
2009 Hon. Doctor of Science, Memorial University, Canada
2008 Hon. Doctor of Science, Laurentian University, Canada
2007 Hon. Doctor of Science, University of Western Ontario, Canada
2007 Hon. Doctor of Science, University of Montreal, Canada
2007 Hon. Doctor of Communications, Ryerson University, Canada
2006 Hon. Doctor of Science, Flinders University, Australia
2005 Hon. Doctor of Science, Universite Quebec a Montreal, Canada
2005 Hon. Doctor of Science, York University, Canada
2001 Hon. Doctor of Laws, Simon Fraser University, Canada
2000 Hon. Doctor of Environmental Science, Unity College, U.S.A.
1999 Hon. Doctor of Science, Whitman College, U.S.A.
1998 Hon. Doctor of Laws, Open University, Canada
1997 Hon. DSc, Griffith University, Australia
1988 Hon. DSc, Amherst College, U.S.A.
1987 Hon. DSc, Carleton University, Canada
1987 Hon. LLD, Queen's University, Canada
1987 Hon. DSc, McMaster University, Canada
1986 Hon. DSc, Lakehead University, Canada
1986 Hon. Doctor of Humane Letters, Governors State University, U.S.A.
1986 Hon. LLD, University of Calgary, Canada
1981 Hon. LLD, Trent University, Canada
1979 Hon. Dsc, Acadia University, Canada
1979 Hon. DSC, University of Windsor, Canada
1974 Hon. LLD, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada

2011 The Guardian Observer Green Power list - David Suzuki #1
2010 Vancouver Film Festival, Environmental Film Audience Award for Force of Nature film
2010 35th Toronto International Film Festival, Cadillac People's Choice Documentary Award, Force of Nature
2010 Induction to the Canadian Film & Television Hall of Fame
2010 Canadian New Media Award, Community Campaign 2010 for The Test Tube with David Suzuki
2007 Banff Mountain Film Festival, Inaugural David Suzuki Film Award
2006 Excellence in Health Reporting, Canadian Medical Association
2005 Silent Forest, First Prize, Earth Vision International Environmental Film, Festival, Santa Cruz, California
2004 Gemini Award, Best Science, Technology, Nature, Environment, Suzuki Speaks , Producers Tony Papa, Cathy Chilco, Avanti Pictures
2004 Crystal Award of Excellence, Communicators Award, Bioneers, radio Restoring Life's Fabric
2003 Fast Forward Award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Media in Canada, First recipient Langara College, Vancouver BC
2002 John Drainie Award for excellence in Broadcast Journalism, Banff
1997 Gemini Award, Best Host, The Nature of Things Food or Famine
1996 Honoree, Global Dreams A tribute hosted by David Foster and Dan Aykroyd, House of Blues in Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA.
1995 Parents Choice Award, Audio Award Amazing Journey, Children Sing to the Beat of the Earth
1994 San Francisco Exploratorium, Public Understanding of Science Award
1994 Gemini Award, Best Host, The Nature of Things, Trading Futures
1992 Genesis Award for Outstanding Cable Documentary,The Nature of Things Animals in Research: Breaking the Habit
1992 Gemini Award, Best Host, The Nature Connection, Tide Pools
1990 Silver Medal, Council for Advancement of Education Best Audiovisual Package, UBC Perspectives
1989 Humanitarian Award, Canadian Health Food Association
1989 Bronze Medal, Council for the Advancement of Education Best Audiovisual Package, UBC Perspectives
1989 Award of Excellence, Banff Television Festival
1986 Grand Award (Silver Medal), Canadian Council for Advancement of Education Best Audiovisual Package, UBC Perspectives
1986 Gold Award, Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education Award Best Audiovisual Package, UBC Perspectives
1986 Award, Best Television Script, A Planet for the Taking, Episode 6, Improving on Nature
1986 Member, Global 500 Roll of Honour, UN Environment Programme
1986 Genesis Award, Fund for Animals, Los Angeles, Best Documentary
1986 Gemini Award, Best Host of TV Series, The Nature of Things
1986 Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education Award Best Audiovisual Package, UBC Perspectives
1985 World Environment Festival Award, CBC Science Unit, A Planet for the Taking
1985 Governor General's Award for Conservation, A Planet for the Taking
1985 ACTRA Award, Best Host of TV Series, Futurescan
1983 Japan Times Prize, The Nature of Things, Japan Shows
1983 Japan Gold Prize, Best Foreign Film on Japan, The Nature of Things
1983 Diploma of Honour, XXXVI Congress, Film Video Genetics, Paris, France The Nature Things, To be or not to be
1983 Bell Northern Award for The Nature of Things, Japan Shows
1983 Asahi Evening News Prize, The Nature of Things, Japan Shows
1979 Prix Anik Award for Best Documentary Film, Tankerbomb, Host and Narrator
1979 Bell-Northern Award for Science Communication in the electronic media
1977 Bell Northern Science Communication in the electronic media
1976 Bell Northern Award for Science Communication in the electronic media
1976 BC CTRA Award for radio host of Quirks and Quarks
1976 Award for the best documentary film The Hottest Show on Earth
1976 Award as Broadcaster of the Year, Canadian Broadcasters League

2010 Gold Medal, The Big Picture, Living Now Book Awards
2009 Green Guide, Gold medal, Living Now Book Awards
2007 Canadian Libris Award, Book of the year, Non-fiction, The Autobiography
2007 BC Booksellers, Bill Duthie Award, The Autobiography
2004 Tree Silver book of the year, ForeWord magazine
2004 Canadian Science Writers' Children's Book Salmon Forest
2000 BC 2000 Book Award, You Are the Earth
1999 TORGI Talking Book of the Year Award, The Sacred Balance, The Canadian National Institute for the Blind
1999 Alberta Theatre Projects, Recipient Bob Edwards Award
1996 Recipient, Science Book of the Year, Secret of Life
1990 Author of the Year, Canadian Booksellers Association
1988 Authors Award, 2nd Prize, Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters Paperback book, nonfiction, David Suzuki Talks about AIDS
1988 Recipient, Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada Award Looking at Insects
1985 Quill Award, National Communication Award (Press)
1975 Canadian Human Rights Foundation Award for Publication

2011 Consumer Choice Award for Excellence
2008 Senior Fellowship, Design Futures Council
2008 Distinguished Canadian Award, U of Regina and Seniors Education Centre for Continuing Education
2007 Global Exchange Human Rights Award
2007 Shining World Leadership Award
2006 Companion to the Order of Canada
2006 Bradford Washburn Award
2006 Roger Tory Peterson Memorial Medal
2006 Stanley H. Knowles Humanitarian Award, Ontario Public Service Employees Union
2005 Global Citizen United Nations Association of Canada
2005 Recognition of Achievement Award, National Quality Institute
2005 Citation of Lifetime Achievement
2005 Canadian Environment Awards
2005 32nd Annual Nexus Award, Building Mathematical Connections, York U.
2005 Japan Wildlife Festival - Life Contribution to Environment Award
2004 The Greatest Canadian, Fifth Position, CBC Television 1.2 million votes cast for ten Canadians
2004 Lindbergh Award
2004 Canadian Society for Training and Development President's Award
2004 Dr. John P. Mcgovern Award, Science and Society
2003 Earthwatch Institute Lifetime Achievement Award
2003 David B. Stone Award, New England Aquarium, Distinguished Service Award
2002 International Scientist of the Year, International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, England
2002 Recipient, Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
1999 Recipient, Canadian recipient of the 1999 Freedom Award, International Freedom Festival, Canada
1999 Member, Global 500 Roll of Honour, UN Environment Programme
1999 Recipient, Green Cross Millennium Award for Individual Environmental Leadership U.S.A.
1995 Recipient, Order of British Columbia
1995 Recipient, Spirit of Leadership Award , BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU)
1988 Recipient, Environmental Achievement Award Environment Canada
1986 Recipient, Royal Bank Award
1986 Recipient, UNESCO Kalinga Prize
1985 United Nations Environment Program Medal
1984 Medal of Honour, Canadian Medical Association
1981 Sanford Fleming Medal, Royal Canadian Institute
1980 - 1983 Elected Secretary, Genetics Society of America
1980 Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1978 - 1984 Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
1976 Officer, Order of Canada
1972 Outstanding Japanese-Canadian of the Year Award
1969 - 1972 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship for the Outstanding Research Scientist in Canada under the age of 35
1969 - 1970 President, Canadian Society of Cell Biology