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Distinguished Canadians: Tuzo Wilson

Distinguished Canadians was a weekly series featuring an interview with an outstanding Canadian. The guests were from a variety of disciplines: science, the arts and humanities, education, politics and religion. Ain Soodor produced the program.

John Tuzo Wilson's love of geophysics has always complimented his world travels. A key contributor to our understanding of plate tectonics, Wilson developed his theories while exploring the far reaches of the earth. In this 1972 clip from CBC-TV's Distinguished Canadians, J. Tuzo Wilson discusses his recent trip to the Arctic Sea and the type of oil-related research taking place there. He offers his opinion regarding the sciences in China, which he feels are less sophisticated than in the West, and comments on the many political and economic concerns that have allowed the widespread abuse of the environment.

• John Tuzo Wilson was born in Ottawa in 1908.

• In 1930 he earned the first Bachelor of Arts in geophysics from the University of Toronto. Sixteen years later he was named professor of geophysics at U of T, where he worked until 1974. He became the first principal of Erindale College in 1967.

• Always active, in 1935 Wilson became the first person to climb Mount Hague in Montana. In 1946, while mapping the Arctic, he became the second Canadian to fly over the North Pole. He also journeyed through Siberia.

• In 1974, Wilson became the director general of the Ontario Science Centre, while remaining a guest lecturer at U of T. From 1983 to 1986 he was Chancellor of York University even though he considered himself "retired" from academia.

• Wilson died in Toronto in 1993.

Medium: Television
Program: Distinguished Canadians
Broadcast Date: June 19, 1972
Guest(s): Tuzo Wilson
Interviewer: John David Hamilton
Duration: 25:52

Last updated: February 2, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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