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Right after finishing his PhD in 1962 from University of Chicago, Ian Burton started at the university in 1963 as a professor in the department of Geography. Under his supervision, the department saw advancement in quantitative geography and environmental geography. One of his publication at the time was "The Quantitative Revolution and Theoretical geography" which highlighted his interest and exploration in quantitative geography. His other contributions to the University of Toronto include the introduction of the interdisciplinary environmental studies on campus. He worked closely with Kenneth Hewitt in achieving many of his goals in the environmental areas.