JOHN GREENOUGH:  The Path from Acadia to Okanagan College

Last year we initiated a new feature in the newsletter - articles written by Acadia geology graduates about their careers paths.  This year we are grateful to John Greenough (BSc Honours, 1977) for his contribution.

At the age of six I found a fern fossil beside my grandfather's fishing boat in Cape Breton Island. There have been many Cape Breton fossil-hunting expeditions since then but the original discovery really influenced my life. I became interested in science, all of science, and on entering Acadia, biol-ogy was dis-carded for this marvellous multi-disci-plinary subject, geology. Along with a great under-graduate education, the camaraderie of students and faculty made the Acadia years unforgettable and propelled me into graduate studies at Carleton and then Memorial.

The rush toward intellectual freedom was slowed by a crippling injury in 1982 and the tragic death of my supervisor, Steve Papezik, in 1984. Still I got through and achieved a goal I set in Huggins Science Hall in January 1974: a doctorate before turn-ing thirty. As a result of scholarships and summer jobs, both of which started at Acadia, I graduated debt-free.

Events during the last months at Memorial were critical to the launch of my working career. Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook (NL) offered a one year sabbatical position that provided teaching ex-peri-ence. Manuscript preparation became para-mount; four came out of the Ph.D. thesis and four were written from data sets in Dr. Papezik's filing cabinets. I worked until exhausted, slept on cement floors, and flew at personal expense from Corner Brook to St. John's to work on papers during weekends. This devotion and a tip from Sandra Barr landed me at Mount Allison in 1985 where I was asked to apply for a NSERC grant. The grant came through but permanent employment didn't and so I moved from Mount A. to St. Mary's, back to Mount A. and then to the University of Saskatchewan in 1989. There were numerous near-misses with per-manent jobs but the work situation was dismal, despite the fact that I had taught half of the courses in the undergraduate calendar and published over 25 papers. In 1990 there were no real positions to apply for and I made the tough decision to quit and get a job with a future.

A miracle was needed and it happened. A half-hearted application for a dead-end job at Okanagan College turned out to be a chance to form a new de-part-ment at a new degree-granting institution. There have been numerous milestones over the, often-frust-rating, past nine years but one of the most important was the arrival of our biogeochemist, Jeff Curtis. The department now has the equivalent of four members and we are promised two research chairs for the coming year, primarily due to Jeff's diligence. There is an application to offer an Earth and Environmental Sciences Degree beginning in September of 2001. We have been able to capitalize on expanding interest in the Earth Sciences from a planetary, human, and environ-mental perspective, even though demand for mineral industry training has softened (temporarily). These opportunities may also reflect the fact that over half of the refereed publications from the OUC Faculty of Science come from our department.

I did not study Geology to become a Department Chairperson and bureaucrat. Discovering is fun and the wonderful thing about the Earth Sciences is that there are so many areas to discover in. During recent years my research interests have expanded from basalt geochemistry into metamorphic petrology, radiometric dating, wine geochemistry, geoarchae-ology and even hot-spring and environmental water geochemistry (to name a few)! I now am an associate editor at CJES and my refereed publication list sits around 60. The research projects created travel to East Asia, Southern Asia, the Indian Ocean, the South Pacific Ocean, Europe, the Middle East, Northern and Southern Africa, South America and most parts of Canada. They also opened elementary school doors so I speak to numerous classes each year! Opportunities to venture into so many different science topics reflect close associations and friend-ships with some of Canada's most respected scien-tists: Brian Fryer, Henry Longerich, Victor Owen, Tom Krogh and Kurt Kyser. And Leanne, my wife of three years, has been the inspiration behind the five papers we have together applying mineralogy and geochemistry to archaeological problems. Earth Sci-ence is our beach. Who has sabbatical suggestions?

The Earth Sciences have been good to me. I owe much to my Acadia profs, George, Jack, Harold, Reg, Rupert and Sandra, for their intellectual introduction to this great field of science. It has been fun, and the projects just keep getting more interesting. This year? I am using mineral compositions in a search for King Solomon's gold mines and exploring ways to geo-chemically certify the authenticity/origin of Canadian varietal wines! And then there is the project on layered basalts ....