George W. Govier
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
George Govier begins the interview with a discussion of his family background and youth. Govier grew up in Canada, the son of a business owner. While in high school, he developed a strong interest in chemistry, mathematics, and physics, and decided to pursue chemical engineering because it combined many of these interests. Govier attended the University of British Columbia, where he earned his BA Sc in chemical engineering in 1939. After graduation, he accepted a position with Standard Oil of British Columbia. A year later, he became an instructor at the University of Alberta, and began his graduate studies, receiving his M Sc in physical chemistry in 1945. As he had summers off from teaching, Govier took short-term positions with Standard Oil, the Aluminum Company of Canada, and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Conservation Board. During this time, he also took a brief leave from the University of Alberta to pursue his doctoral studies at the University of Michigan; he received his Sc D in chemical engineering in 1949. In 1948, Govier became the head of the University of Alberta's Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and was instrumental in developing the program there. Eleven years later, he accepted the position of dean of the Faculty of Engineering, a position which he held until his departure from the University of Alberta. Govier then became the chairman of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Conservation Board, an organization in which he had been active since 1948. He discusses the activities of the board, his involvement in various professional organizations, and his consulting experiences. Govier concludes the interview with his thoughts on the future of the petroleum industry in North America.
|1939||University of British Columbia||BA Sc||Chemical Engineering|
|1945||University of Alberta||M Sc||Physical Chemistry|
|1949||University of Michigan||Sc D||Chemical Engineering|
Standard Oil Company
University of Alberta
Aluminum Company of Canada
Oil and Gas Conservation Board
Energy Resources Conservation Board
University of Calgary
Petroleum Recovery Institute
Alberta Helium Limited
Department of Energy and Natural Resources (Canada)
Coal Mining Research Centre
Govier Consulting Services Ltd
R. S. Jane Memorial Award, Chemical Institute of Canada
Award of Merit, Canadian Natural Gas Processing Association
Sesquicentennial Award, University of Michigan
Centennial Medal of Canada
Centennial Award, Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta
Selwyn G. Blaylock Medal, Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Calgary
Gold Medal, Canadian Council of Professional Engineers
Achievement Award, Government of Alberta
Named Oil Man of the Year by Oilweek Magazine
Doctor of Science, honoris causa, McGill University
Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa, University of Waterloo
Distinguished Services Medal, Petroleum Society of CIM
Sir John Kennedy Medal, The Engineering Institute of Canada
Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal, Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME
Half Century of Membership Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Table of Contents
Growing up in Canada. Father's businesses. Early interest in science. Attraction to chemical engineering.
Attending University of British Columbia. Position with Standard Oil of British Columbia. Teaching at University of Alberta. Beginning graduate studies. Summer jobs at Standard Oil, Aluminum Company of Canada.
Taking a leave from the University of Alberta. Influence of work of George Granger Brown and Donald Katz. Doctoral studies.
Invitation to join. Working with Ian McKinnon. Correlative rights.
Becoming dean of the engineering faculty. Expansion of faculty. Establishment of University of Calgary.
Leaving academic world. Becoming chairman of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Conservation Board. Consulting for Royal Bank of Canada. Focus on petroleum engineering.
Involvement in Chemical Institute of Canada, Association of Professional Engineers, World Petroleum Congress. Serving on board of directors for Texaco Canada, Inc. , Stone & Webster, Raylo Chemicals, etc. Involvement in CIDA.
Future of petroleum industry in North America. Publishing a textbook. Wife and daughters.
About the Interviewer
James G. Traynham is a professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He holds a PhD in organic chemistry from Northwestern University. He joined Louisiana State University in 1953 and served as chemistry department chairperson from 1968 to 1973. He was chairman of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1988 and is currently councilor of the Baton Rouge section of the American Chemical Society. He was a member of the American Chemical Society’s Joint-Board Council on Chemistry and Public Affairs, as well as a member of the Society’s Committees on Science, Chemical Education, and Organic Chemistry Nomenclature. He has written over 90 publications, including a book on organic nomenclature and a book on the history of organic chemistry.