From Steelmaking to Science Policy to Stress: 5 decades of Distinguished Lecturers

Left to right: Ottawa Branch Chair Bud Cumming, Distinguished Lecturer Dave Pearson and Branch Chair Colin Riley. Pearson’s presentation, Trends in Utilization of Western Coal, consisted of a talk and a series of 32 coloured slides. January 21, 1982.

This month CIM launches the 55th season of its Distinguished Lecturer Program. Since 1968, it has continuously provided a lineup of individuals, experts in their fields, who have shared their knowledge with the mining community.

A scan of the 1971 issues of the CIM Bulletin reveals a glimpse of that season’s Distinguished Lecturer activity, and of the mining industry’s hot topics of the day.

On October 29, 1970, Professor F. T. M. White, Chair of McGill University’s Department of Mining Engineering and Applied Geophysics, “addressed the [Labrador] Branch members and their wives and friends on The Mid-Canada Corridor Concept. A large audience of about 150 very much enjoyed the discourse on the future possibilities of life in the Canadian North.”

The following month, Professor White travelled to Merritt, British Columbia, where he gave a lecture entitled Adventures in Ideas in the Mining Industry to the Merritt Branch members as well as to the senior classes of the local high school. 

Professor White also gave his Adventures in Ideas in the Mining Industry lecture to the Sudbury Branch on February 10, 1971, and to the Winnipeg Branch on March 18.

On Thursday, November 12, 1970, Peter de H. Eastcott delivered his lecture Modern Canadian Hoist Developments to the Manitouwadge Branch in Northern Ontario.  By the following Monday, November 16, he had travelled to Pine Point in the Northwest Territories to deliver the same lecture to the CIM Branch there.

In January 1971, the Winnipeg Branch hosted Dean J. G. Parr of the University of Windsor. His lecture “provided a journey into history when he talked on An Excursion with the ‘Ma Robert’ into Mid-Nineteenth-Century Steelmaking. Dean Parr described the trials encountered by the famous…explorer, Dr. Livingstone, with the ‘Ma Robert,’ one of the earliest iron ships built. The primitive ‘steel’ of which it was constructed was more nearly a wrought iron and corroded so rapidly as to make the ship unseaworthy.”


Dr Livingstone’s Steam Launch Ma Robert Built for Exploring the River Zambesi by John Laird Esqr of Birkenhead. David Livingstone employed the steam launch ‘Ma Robert’ on his Zambesi expedition of 1858-62. While the vessel allowed the expedition to carry more equipment than could easily be transported by land, it was unable to negotiate the cataracts on the Shire River. This forced Livingstone to trek overland to Lake Nyasa. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Dean Parr also delivered his lecture to the Victoria Branch the following month, as well as to the Merritt Branch on an unspecified date that season.

On March 26, the Labrador Branch hosted Dr. Roger A. Blais, the Associate Dean of Research at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique, as well as past Chair of the CIM Geology Division and Chair of the government of Canada’s Solid Earth Science Study Group. His topic, Science Policy — Potpourri or Symphony “proved to be quite interesting and provocative. He brought out ways and means of improving our research effort, using the iron ore industry of Southern Ontario as an example. In closing he said, ‘Science without humanity is void; humanity without science is blind.’”

The following month, Dr. Blais met with the Winnipeg Branch. This time his lecture title was Science Policy and the Mining Industry, in which he pointed out  that “science policy is now the subject of much debate and that the mining industry must be concerned with the goals of a national science policy. He said that there should be a greater consultation among industry, government and universities on matters such as research.”

From the CIM photo album
The February 1982 meeting for the Crowsnest Branch featured Dr. D. E. Pearson, CIM Distinguished Lecturer. About 40 members were given a “short course” on coal petrography and how it relates to metallurgical and coal qualities. Dr. Pearson pointed out the specific coal qualities of the coals being mined in the East Kootenays in relation to world-wide coal fields.
Left to right: Ottawa Branch Chair Bud Cumming, Distinguished Lecturer Dave Pearson and Branch Chair Colin Riley. Pearson’s presentation, Trends in Utilization of Western Coal, consisted of a talk and a series of 32 coloured slides. January 21, 1982.
Dr. D. E. Pearson, center, points out some interesting details in the sketch of the historic Hosmer coking ovens sketch presented to him as a memento at the February 1982 Crowsnest Branch meeting.
At the meeting of the CIM Rocky Mountain Branch on April 23, 1982, held before a packed house in the Grande Cache Hotel, Bill Stanley, a CIM Distinguished Lecturer and partner of Currie, Coopers & Lybrand, Vancouver, was the guest speaker. His talk, Turning Stress into Rest, was very well received. Distinguished Lecturer Bill Stanley, left, talking to Tony Kelly, Rocky Mountain Branch membership chair.  
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