Gordon West

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Gordon West has spent most of his life at the University of Toronto. He graduated in engineering physics (1955) and, after a brief adventure in the exploration industry, returned to complete his PhD in 1960. He met his wife Katri while an exchange student in Finland—a critical event for the future fellowship of geophysics. He returned to Toronto and progressed from lecturer to professor and finally professor emeritus in 1998. He certainly has not retired, and is as active today as when I met him 30 years ago. Gordon has brought to our community the originality of the physicist, the technical ability of the engineer, and the diversity and collaborative skills of the true earth scientist. His interests span electromagnetic methods, rock magnetism, tectonics and geodynamics, potential fields, crustal seismology, and cross-hole tomography. With Yves Lamontagne, he developed UTEM (University of Toronto Electromagnetic System), a method credited with multibillion dollar base metal discoveries. This research illustrates Gordon’s style! There is the initial very bright idea, an EM system with a triangular current waveform in the transmitter cable. (The temporal derivative of the magnetic field is a square wave: easy to measure with a coil, easy to process because of limited dynamic range.) There is the time in the laboratory conjuring with the electonics—Gordon in his element and at the peak of his creativity. There is the construction, field-testing, data modeling/interpretation and, ultimately, the setting up of Yves’ organization. In the early 1980s, Canada’s earth science community embarked on Project Lithoprobe—the multidisciplinary study of the origin, composition, evolution, and structure of the Canadian continental crust. Gordon became involved in a major way. He was instrumental in directing studies in Ontario and in creating a modern vision of the Kapuskasing Structural Zone through synthesizing diverse data sets. Gordon’s skill