Thursday, 4 April 2013

Where are they now? The 1984 NATO ASI lecturers

 In the mid-1980s two NATO Advanced Study Institutes on mineral processing were held, the first in Bursa, Turkey in 1984, and the second in Falmouth, UK in 1986.

An Advanced Study Institute (ASI) is a high-level teaching activity where a carefully defined subject is treated in depth by lecturers of international standing, and new advances in a subject, not taught elsewhere, are reported in tutorial form. The teaching in ASIs is aimed at scientists at the postdoctoral level with an appropriate scientific background who wish to learn of recent developments in their fields of science.

Each of the ASIs had a duration of 2-weeks in order to give adequate time for the development of a topic and allow for sufficient interaction between the scientists.

I attended both of these ASIs, being co-organiser of that in Falmouth, and it would be interesting to know what became of the lecturers of “international standing” who contributed to these events.

In this posting, I will look at the 1984 ASI, Mineral Processing Design, which was held on a mountain top above Bursa in Turkey . It was the first conference that I ever attended, and certainly the only conference where I have attended all the presentations! It was particularly memorable as I made some life-time contacts at the meeting, but others I have totally lost contact with, and would like your comments if you know what became of them.

The NATO ASI group at Bursa, Turkey, 1984
 I remember being very impressed with a lecture on applied mineralogy given by Bill Petruk of CANMET, Canada. People at that time were only just beginning to be aware of the importance of mineralogy in processing operations, and Bill was probably the authority at the time. I don’t know what became of him, I think I may have met him a couple of times in the late 80s, but his pioneering work has led to the ‘new’ science of geometallurgy, and conferences, such as Geometallurgy ’13 and Process Mineralogy ’14, dedicated to the rapid developments in these areas.

Delegates with NATO lecturers Bill Petruk (4th left),
Gulhan Ozbayoglu (5th left) and Martin Parker (far right)
 I also met for the first time, Gordon Agar of Inco, Canada, who inspired me with a lecture on flotation circuit design which I incorporated, and is still in the latest edition, of Mineral Processing Technology. For many years Gordon was a respected member of the Editorial Board of Minerals Engineering, until his recent retirement.

I have vivid memories of a hard drinking session with Gordon, and another of the NATO lecturers, Dick Burt, during a weekend break from the conference in Istanbul. Dick I had met 10 years earlier when we were both interviewed for the post of lecturer in mineral processing at Camborne School of Mines. At that time he worked for a Cornish mining equipment manufacturer, but later moved into tantalum processing in Canada, and co-authored a book ‘Gravity Concentration Technology’. I met him again 10 years later at Minerals Engineering ’94 in Lake Tahoe, but would love to know what he is doing now.

In Istanbul with NATo lecturers S. Raghavan (far left),
Cornelius Ek (4th left),Dick Burt (5th left) and Gordon Agar (6th left)

IMPC New Delhi
Gulhan Ozbayoglu (far right) at last year's IMPC
 I also met for the first time Gulhan Ozbayoglu, who gave an excellent lecture on coal preparation. During our time in Bursa, I learned that our grandfathers had both fought, on separate sides, at Gallipoli in the Great War, both being wounded, Gulhan’s mortally. We took a day off from the conference and visited the war memorials at the Dardanelles with her family. I have been in touch with Gulhan ever since, and have caught up with her at many conferences, the last being at the IMPC in New Delhi last year.

Other NATO lecturers I have heard nothing of since the ASI, but would certainly like to know what became of H.W. Smith of the University of Toronto, who presented a lecture on data reconciliation, Martin Parker, of the University of Salford, UK, who was the magnetic separation specialist and S. Raghavan of the University of Arizona, who was a member of the Editorial Board of Minerals Engineering for a few years. I also totally lost contact with one of the editors of the proceedings of the conference, Baki Yarar, who I believe is now Emeritus Professor of Mining Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines.

I really would be grateful if anyone can provide the whereabouts of any of these people.


  1. Barry - Richard (Dick) Burt here. Fully retired now and living in Elora Ontario - well as 'fully' as any consultant ever is - having spent 35 years in and around the tantalum and the gravity concentration industries. One of the really satisfying ventures I was involved in was the legitimization of the artisanal tin, tantalum tungsten supply chain out of Central Africa. By the way - since that photo was taken I HAVE shaved!

    1. Good to hear from you Dick. I'll never forget that night with you and Gordon Agar when we hit the whisky hard in Istanbul. Don't know how I got through the next day!
      I wonder what happened to Gordon- he retired some time ago.
      May see you in Cornwall sometime- we first met there in 1974 you may remember.


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