Dr. Gordon Whitmore  

Dr. Gordon Whitmore is being remembered for his legacy as a leading medical biophysics researcher and mentor to many at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

Dr. Whitmore's long history with PM dates back to 1956 when he was hired by the Ontario Cancer Institute at the soon-to-be-completed Princess Margaret Hospital where he remained for his entire career. During that time, he made major contributions to both cancer science and academia as a Professor at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Whitmore passed away on Dec. 30. He was 90.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Senior Scientist Dr. Thomas Kislinger says that Dr. Whitmore served as a valuable mentor to many students and his contribution to cancer science has been significant.

"Dr. Whitmore's research helped shape the field of medical physics in Canada and around the world," says Dr. Kislinger, who also serves as Professor and Chair of the University of Toronto's Department of Medical Biophysics.

"Our deepest condolences go out to Gordon's family, friends and colleagues. He will be deeply missed by the Medical Biophysics community."

Dr. Fei-Fei Liu, Chief of the Radiation Medicine Program, and a former mentee, said that Dr. Whitmore had a wonderful sense of humour.

"He engaged in witty repartee and had a constant smile and infectious laugh," Dr. Liu says. "He will be remembered by many as a kind and compassionate mentor; always supportive and positive, yet scientifically rigorous."

Dr. Jan Seuntjens, Head of Medical Physics at PM, worked with Dr. Whitmore when he was member of the International Commission for Radiological Units and Measurements' (ICRU) main commission until 2014.

"His comments, discussion and constructive criticisms on the commission's work were helpful, to the point and down to earth," Dr. Seuntjens says.

Dr. Whitmore received his HBA and MA in physics from the University of Saskatchewan. He was awarded the National Cancer Institute Fellowship in Radiation Physics to attend Yale University where he graduated in two years with his PhD in biophysics.

Worked more than 40 years in the field of medical physics

In addition to his work at the Ontario Cancer Institute and then PM, Dr. Whitmore served at the University of Toronto as Chairman of the Department of Medical Biophysics from 1971 to 1981 and Associate Dean of Basic Science from 1974 to 1977.

Dr. Whitmore was the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI) Head of the Physics Division from 1980 to 1990, and Head of the Experimental Therapeutics Division from 1990 to 1996.

He retired in 1996 as Professor Emeritus, Department of Medical Biophysics at U of T and Senior Scientist Emeritus, Experimental Therapeutics, OCI.

Over the more than 40 years he worked in the field, Dr. Whitmore collaborated with students and colleagues to publish more than 100 papers.

In 2017, he received the UHN Global Impact Award which he shared with his longtime friend and colleague, Jack Cunningham. The award acknowledged his "pioneering work in medical physics and his vision in shaping the field of medical physics in Canada and around the world."

He also received the David Anderson-Berry Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1966 and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1972 and received the Failla Award, from the Radiation Research Society in 1978.

After his retirement, he continued to consult internationally and was chosen to represent Canada as a member of the Review Panel for NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training (NSCORT).

Dr. Whitmore was also an avid traveller and an accomplished craftsman, using those skills during a decades-long volunteering commitment to Habitat for Humanity.


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