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McGill professor tops in Economic Geology

Published: 9 Jun 2000

McGill Earth & Planetary Sciences professor awarded Duncan R. Derry Medal. Anthony Williams-Jones receives highest honour from peers.

Anthony Williams-Jones awarded Duncan Derry Medal

A McGill Earth & Planetary Sciences professor is receiving the highest possible honour from his peers. Anthony Williams-Jones is being awarded the Duncan R. Derry Medal, in the category of Outstanding Contribution by an Economic Geologist, from the Mineral Deposits Division of the Geological Association of Canada.

Prof. Williams-Jones, who recently completed a five-year term as chair of McGill’s Earth & Planetary Sciences, will be receiving his medal at the GeoCanada 2000 Conference in Calgary on June 1. A McGill professor since 1977, he is also the recipient of the 1992 Julian Boldy Award, from the Geological Association of Canada, as well as the prestigious Yaffe and David Thomson Awards for excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching.

Known simply as Willy to both his peers and students, Prof. Williams-Jones has also distinguished himself through a broad range of research. His winning campaign to maintain his department’s status and independence during a period of severe budgetary restraint at McGill in 1995 earned him respect within the University community, too. McGill colleagues Eric Mountjoy, a professor emeritus, and Wallace MacLean, a past Derry Medal recipient himself, are delighted Williams-Jones is being honoured by his peers. "As an outstanding teacher and researcher," both agreed, "Willy is most deserving of this award."

Much of Prof. Williams-Jones’s research has focused on gold, silver and base metals including copper, lead and zinc deposits. As well, he has studied high-tech metals including rare earth elements used in such applications as super conductors. The researcher is also noted for his integrated approach to the study of mineral processes, where he combines field observations and laboratory experiments with theoretical modeling.

Over his career, Prof. Williams-Jones has published several papers on the following topics: the relationship of geothermal systems to precious metal deposits (Au, Ag); the significance of the spatial association between oil and mercury; pioneering experimental studies showing how gold, silver and copper may form ore deposits derived from volcanic gases, and the presence of hydrocarbons in igneous rock formed in a process similar to synthetic fuel production.

The Duncan R. Derry Medal is the highest award bestowed by the Mineral Deposits Division of the Geological Association of Canada. It is awarded annually to an outstanding economic geologist who has made contributions to the science of economic geology in Canada. Recipients are recognized for their skill and stature as professional economic geologists and by their public contributions to the science.

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