Guest Book for Hanspeter R Witschi

Provided by Westrum Funeral Service, INC.

Posted by: Stephen M Griffey DVM PhD
Wed January 29, 2020
Dr Witschi was on my orals committee for my PhD at UC Davis in 1997. I had the utmost respect for him and enjoyed our thoughtful discussions. At a meeting before the orals exam, I ask him what should I do to prepare. He promptly handed me a stack of his articles and books related to inhalation toxicology and said go over these and you should do fine. I left his office worried I would never be able to get through the material. I did my best. He was the last to ask questions during my exam. Up to that point, I felt the exam had gone pretty well but was terrified about what he would ask based on the volume of material he had given me. In the end his question was “What occupation in New York City has the highest incidence of lung disease?” I had no idea and all I could think was this wasn’t in any of the materials he gave me. I knew that it was going to be ok when other members on the committee  tried to answer but were wrong. I realized then that he had given me the material for the sake of learning, not for the benefit of getting questions right on an exam. I have never forgotten this as I tried to teach students to learn for the sake of learning and not for what was on the exam. By the way the answer was toll booth operators.
 

 
Posted by: Jim Kehrer, PhD
Thu January 30, 2020
I was a postdoctoral fellow with Peter from 1978-1980 at Oak Ridge National Laboratories. His mentorship was a major factor in my subsequent success. Importantly, his continuing support throughout my career was greatly appreciated and was certainly a factor when I received the SOT Achievement Award. I was grateful to be able to support him when he received the SOT Education and Merit Awards.
Peter always appreciated a good joke and could identify both good and bad science immediately. This made him wonderful editor of "Toxicology". He gave me numerous manuscripts to review while I was a postdoc (and after I became a faculty member) which greatly helped me as a reviewer, scientist, and eventually the editor of "Toxicology Letters". I will miss his occasional phone calls that occurred until I retired. Rest in peace Peter, you will be missed.
 

 
Posted by: Calvin Willhite
Fri January 31, 2020
Dr. Witschi was a member of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) Committee (a group that develops occupational exposure limits for ~ 700 chemicals) for a number of years.  Dr. Witschi also edited the Encyclopedia of Toxicology and encouraged me to participate on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Committee on Toxicology.  Peter was always a very direct individual and his contributions to the science continue through those activities.  My memorable quote from him was about the excellent quality of the New England lobster dinners put on by the NAS at their Woods Hole study center on Cape Cod.