Miner With a Heart of Gold: Biography of a Mineral Science and Engineering Educator

· FriesenPress
2 reviews

About this ebook

During the mid-twentieth century, Mineral Science and Engineering educator Frank White played an influential role in the advancement of his field, widely respected not only for his knowledge but also for his advocacy, leadership, and visionary perspective on both mining technologies and their impact on the environment. He looked at mining and metallurgical engineering though a much wider lens than was common at the time, embracing a diversity of cultures with environmental consciousness, inclusiveness, and a commitment to sustainability.

Written by his son, this is the story of Frank White—a story that connects people, cultures, and histories from around the world: Australia, New Zealand, the Western Pacific, South East Asia, and North America. He lived through hardship, warfare, and economic upheavals, but with the love of his family, and the satisfaction of scientific and educational advancement, he remained always a seeker of knowledge, and an inspiration for all those whose lives he touched.

Ratings and reviews

2 reviews
Ian Rockett
April 10, 2021
Agriculture spearheaded the Australian economy up to the formation of the European Common Market in the 1950s. “Australia rides on the sheep’s back” remained a common refrain among residents in the 1960s. Never really in the shadows, however, mining soon supplanted agriculture as the dominant primary industry. Frank White junior—the focus and hero of this biography—had launched his career in the goldfields of Western Australia as a university-trained engineer in 1931. One source of inspiration was Herbert Hoover, whom the author, White’s son Franklin, tells us had been a highly successful engineer there at the end of the 19th century. In 1950, White transitioned from being an innovative and industrious administrator and mine inspector into a pioneering professorship in mining engineering at the University of Queensland. His practical experience was forged under harsh conditions in Fiji and Malaya, as well as in Australia. Steeling his ambitions were formidable threats posed by Japanese expansionism into the Asia-Pacific region in World War II, and shortly thereafter by the Communist emergency in Malaya. A central theme in this biography is the need to confront and dissolve traditional barriers. Most salient is White’s coalescing and promoting of mining and engineering in his academic debut in Queensland, and his continuing commitment to this merger as a leader at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. However, he operated outside the box in other arenas also. For example, White contrasts with the long-serving prime-minister of the day, Robert Menzies, in viewing Australia as a part of Asia rather than as an antipodean outpost of the United Kingdom. His work in wartime settings, acceptance of cultural diversity and willingness to address change facilitated his adaptation to an English-language institution in francophone Quebec at a time of ascending separatism. This splendid book offers much to engage the general reader—from metallurgy and mining and the blending of the practical and theoretical to multiculturalism as a force for good in a world that all too easily embraces division.
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About the author

Franklin White is an Australian-born Canadian who has lived and worked in numerous countries with a focus on international and global development. Based on this work and related research, he is an acknowledged author in the health sciences. In Miner with a Heart of Gold, he diverges from this stream to address the life of his late father, a mineral science and engineering educator. As Frank White's son, he grew up talking geology, geography, minerals and metals “over the dinner table”. Before entering medicine, he worked summers in the mining industry, and has followed its evolution over decades including its current challenges with social and environmental sustainability. Relevant to these challenges, a significant amount of his medical and public health career has addressed environmental and occupational health issues. For his professional work, he is the recipient of a Breakthrough Award for Creativity from the Academy for Educational Development, and a Medal of Honor from the Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization regional office for the Americas. He lives in Victoria BC where his interests include offshore sailing and flamenco-jazz guitar.

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