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Remembering Professor Emeritus Alex Harrison

Headshot of Alex Harrison

Professor Emeritus Alex Harrison joined the Department of Chemistry in 1959.

Professor Emeritus Alex Harrison will be remembered as a passionate chemist who changed the landscape of gas-phase ion chemistry and mass spectrometry. Harrison, who joined the Department of Chemistry in 1959, died on September 7 at the age of 87.

“Alex was a remarkable individual, an outstanding chemist, and a devoted and respected member of our department and the university,” said Rob Batey, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry. “He was also a welcoming figure within the department to new faculty members and students.”

Mike Thompson, professor in the Department of Chemistry, recalls Harrison as a “model teacher” and as responsible for the “seminal work on  the theory and applications of chemical ionization mass spectrometry.”

 Alex Harrison shaking Rachel Chang's hand as he presents her an award

Professor Alex Harrison awards the 2010 Alex Harrison Graduate Fellowship in Analytical Environmental Mass Spectrometry to Rachel Chang.

Harrison’s contribution to chemistry has been widely recognized. He was named as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow in 1962 and a Killam Research Fellow in 1985. He owns the distinction of having been the first Canadian elected to the Board of Directors of the American Society of Mass Spectrometry.

Appointed as a full professor in 1967, Harrison retired in 1993 and was named Emeritus Professor.

In 2005, the department of chemistry established in his name the Alex Harrison Graduate Fellowship in Analytical Environmental Mass Spectrometry.

The Harrison family will host a celebration of life in the common room at 900 Mount Pleasant Rd on Friday, September 14 from 3:00 to 5:00. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Department of Chemistry.