Bachelor of Science in Biology with distinction, Dalhousie U., 1945; Master of Science in Zoology, Dalhousie U., 1947; Doctor of Laws (honorary), Dalhousie U., 1991; Doctor of Philosophy in Botany, U. London, England., 1951; Doctor of Science (honorary), McGill University, 1993.
In the process, Gorham made a number of practical contributions that included discovering the influence of acid rain in lake acidification, plus the importance of the biological magnification of radioactive fallout isotopes in northern food chains. The former led to legislation and redesign of the power plants of the world to scrub sulfur, and the latter was an early step toward the establishment of an atmospheric nuclear test ban treaty. Gorham emphasizes that discovery in science is often the result of chance and serendipity, and encourages students to watch for the opportunities that chance provides.
He was recognized by the National Academy of Sciences as a renaissance scholar and has influenced the careers of others
Gorham grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, an avid reader drawn to the classroom. His life and career are outlined in a 2015 essay Briefly, he attended Dalhousie University from 1942 to 1947, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and an Master of Science degree in zoology.
His thesis showed the effects of temperature difference in the development of salmon embryos, of later significance for studies of thermal pollution. At this point, Gorham decided to avoid experimentation that involved harming animals.
In 1947, he received an Overseas Science Research Scholarship from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 and was accepted as a doctoral student of plant ecology at University College, London.
Gorham began his doctoral work studying mineral content of plants in the Lake District and became interested in the acidification of ecosystems. After his Doctor of Philosophy, he spent a postdoctoral year in Sweden conducting a project on the waters of a Swedish peatland. After returning to England, he worked for the Freshwater Biological Association in the English Lake District.
lieutenant was here that he made some of his most significant discoveries regarding acid rain and nuclear fallout.
After the death of his father, Gorham and family returned to Canada, where he took a position in the botany department position at the University of Toronto. With Alan Gordon, he studied the effects of smelter pollution on the forests and lakes around Sudbury.
Then in 1962, he accepted a position at the University of Minnesota. lieutenant was here that Gorham took up environmental activism and developed courses on the ecological effects of pollution upon ecosystems.
Gorham served on multiple environmental committees, including the joint Canadian-United States. scientific commission under President Carter, and took part in many environmental projects, such as those sponsored by the Royal Society of Canada and United States. Academy of National Sciences.
Board of directors Acid Rain Foundation, 1982-1987, secretary treasurer 1982-1984. Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science, Royal Society Canada, American Academy Arts and Sciences. Member NAS, Am.Soc. Limnology and Oceanography (G. Evelyn Hutchinson medal 1986), Ecological Society American, International Association Theoretical and Applied Limnology, Society Wetland Scientists, Swedish Phytogeog.
Society (honorary), Gown in Town Club.
Married Ada Verne MacLeod, September 29, 1948. Children: Kerstin, Vivien, Jocelyn, James.