I originally come from Cardston, which is a small town (about 3500 hearty souls) in Western Canada. It is found in Southern Alberta and is just north of the border with the United States. The picture to the left is of that great prairie sky. I received my Undergraduate Degree, B.Sc. (First Class Honours Chemistry) from the University of Alberta in Edmonton in 1980. I took off two years in the middle of my undergraduate degree to go to Europe and serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was in the Switzerland Geneva Mission which included the Southeast corner of France and the French speaking cantons of Switzerland. Down on the right is a picture of the famous Pont d'Avignon, a bridge over the Rhône river at Avignon in Southern France. The bridge only goes halfway across the river, so it is only good for dancing on; hence the famous children's song.
I returned to Edmonton in 1978 to finish my undergraduate degree. I went from there to the University of Toronto in 1980 (below is a picture of Toronto taken at night from the top of the CN Tower. You can see the Gardiner Expressway run off toward Mississauga and Oakville.) where I received my Ph.D. under the guidance of Prof. John Polanyi in the field of Gas Phase Reaction Dynamics (I was studying the reactions F + Na2 NaF + Na* and F2 + Na2 NaF + F + Na*). John received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1986, the year I graduated. In fact I was the first student to graduate following his Nobel Prize. He returned from Sweden and I defended my thesis in about the same week. However, I had poor timing for the original announcement. My family and I were in the process of moving to Seattle to the University of Washington and we were staying in a motel in Northern Wyoming when the news first broke. The celebrations went ahead without me!
At the University of Washington, I worked with Prof. Tom Engel, who introduced me to the field of Surface Science. I was there for almost three years, working part of the time with a He diffractometer, studying the roughening phase transition on Ni(117) and part of the time working on the development of a scanning tunneling microscope. We were finally able to achieve atomic resolution on both Si(111) and Ag(115) before I left to go to Guelph. The picture on the right is of Puget Sound in Seattle. The family is playing on the rocks in the foreground and if you look very carefully just above the point of land in the background you can just make out Mount Rainier, one of the volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest's Cascade Mountain Range.
I came to Guelph in 1989 as an Assistant Professor and have been here ever since.
Laura and I have been married for 18 years and have four children, Shara (17), Scott (15), Robert (12), and Caitlin (9) and a big, black cat named Ziggy. We like to go camping together and regularly visit the Pinery for a week every summer. Here on the right is a picture of me flying a kite on the shore of Lake Huron while having been buried in the sand - a remarkable talent. To the left is a picture of the family taken at the mouth of the Lewis and Clark Cavern. These caves are found in southern Montana, a couple of hours from Yellowstone National Park.