Donald Holness

Dr. Donald Holness

Defence Scientist (Retired), Department of National Defence, Research & Development Branch, Ottawa, ON. Born: Jamaica.

After completing his Doctorate in Physiology with a major in Neurophysiology, Dr. Holness’s research interests branched into the field of diving and aerospace medicine. During his career, scientific research in the fields of diving and aerospace medicine led to the development of improved technologies for use by the Canadian military, especially divers and pilots of high-performance aircrafts.

Highlights: Group Leader, research program in diving and aerospace medicine, Defence Research Lab (1978- 82); was also Canadian Project Officer and Representative to NATO Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (R&D), addressing issues in aerospace medical life support and nuclear, biological and chemical protection of air-crew. From 1982-88, Dr. Holness was Staff Officer at the Department of National Defence headquarters, responsible for monitoring the research programs, including occupational health, aerospace medicine, also analyzed and assessed Canadian participation in international defence R&D programs; became Scientific Liaison Officer at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, responsible for promoting interaction between U.S. and Canadian scientists in their respective defence departments (1988-92,). Returned to the Department of National Defence headquarters in 1992 and continued to analyze and assess Canadian participation in international defence R&D programs before retiring in 1995.

Honours: Inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada (1st & 2nd editions; 2002, 2006); James Bertram Collip medal for graduate studies in medical sciences, University of Western Ontario (1969).

Works: Several scientific and technical articles in international journals, including Canadian Journal of Comparative Medicine & Veterinary Science; International Journal of Biometeorology; Ergonomics; Journal of Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine.

Education: PhD, University of Western Ontario (1968); MSc (1963); BSc (1961), McGill University.

Credo: How you think about a problem is more important than the problem itself.

Favourite book? My favourite book is Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan (2001). It is an excellent work of narrative political history showing how historic mistakes can morph into later historic problems, and is a blueprint of the political and social upheavals be-deviling the Planet now.

Favourite quote? One of my favourite quotes is by Thomas Edison: ‘The greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time.”

Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? I would like to travel extensively in South America and learn more about their ancient civilizations. My activity interest areas since my retirement in 1995 have included educational/recreational travel, genealogy, writing my memoirs, music collection (I’m a Jazz audiophile), golfing and curling.

Who inspires you? I’m inspired by Nelson Mandela and his life; the inner strength, courage and character of the man commands deep respect.