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Peter Winterburn

$13,886.00 (raised so far)

About Peter Winterburn

Dr. Peter Winterburn joined UBC in 2013 as a Professor of Exploration Geochemistry in the Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU), bringing with him over twenty-five years of experience in the industry. He was a valued colleague, a respected geochemist and an inspiring mentor.

Peter was born in England in 1962, and completed his PhD in 1988 examining southern African kimberlites at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He then moved to South Africa where he joined Anglo American as a geochemist. He spent 18 years with the company based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and at locations across South America before joining Vale in Toronto, Ontario, as Chief Geochemist – Global Exploration for four years. During his career, Peter worked in over sixty countries representing a range of environments, from tropical to arctic to arid deserts, in both mountainous and subdued terrains.

In 2013 he relocated to Vancouver, Canada, to join MDRU at UBC, where he was appointed to the new position of NSERC/Acme Labs/Bureau Veritas Minerals Executive Industrial Research Chair in Exploration Geochemistry. Peter had active research projects and students in British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Colombia, and Chile. His research included themes as diverse as regolith mapping, surface inorganic geochemistry, soil mineralogy, extractive geochemistry, soil hydrocarbons, geochemistry in hyper-arid terrains and microbial genomics.

Peter’s colleagues at MDRU remember him as someone who was always pushing the boundaries of his science. They also recall his unquenchable enthusiasm for his students, his wry sense of humour and sharp wit. His considerable legacy will live on in the students he trained, the colleagues he influenced and the impacts he made to the discipline.

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The impact of your support

In Peter’s memory, the Peter Winterburn Memorial Fund has been established at UBC.

Your gift will pay tribute to Peter’s life and career by supporting students following in his footsteps. The terms of the fund will be finalized in consultation with the family.

Messages of Remembrance

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  • My Brother will be missed by all. His mother of 86. his sister who was 3 years younger and his 2 older brothers RIP peter we will love you for ever and will never forget you xx

    Jean Winterburn, Sister
  • 2015 Pete and Michelle came for a visit to Arizona, spent the week with myself and my wife Irene touring Sedona, the Grand Canyon, raft ride down the Colorado river, Monument Valley, Painted Desert, Petrified forest, Meteor Crater, Walnut Canyon just to mention a few places, most people would have a tourist to Arizona, not Pete, he had the Geologist guide to Arizona.

    Walter W Winterburn, Pete's oldest Brother
  • Peter was my MSc supervisor at MDRU UBC. I feel honoured to have been able to spend so much time and share so many experiences with Peter during my studies. We traveled to Chile many times together and shared in the excitement of new discoveries while running around the Atacama Desert, shared many great bottles of Chilean wine, and shared many laughs. Peter was the best supervisor I could have asked for, and his innate teaching and mentorship abilities, his enthusiasm, and his never-ending scientific curiosity gave all of his students the ability to reach our full potential. I will always be deeply indebted to Peter for his unwavering support and faith in me. I will remember his great sense of humour, witty remarks, and the friendship we developed over the last couple years. His profound contributions to the field of geochemistry will endure through those of us who were lucky enough to be trained and mentored by him along the way, and through the support of memorial funds such as this one.

    Ally Brown, Peter's student
  • Peter and I first connected at an internal event at MDRU, where he educated me on a variety of cheese options. There I named him the "Cheese Wiz"! Over the past couple years, we often bond over many (too many really) glasses of wine. :) I will miss our random conversations about food, wine, photography and our latest Instagram posts. Will I ever miss the random Fitbit messages from Peter taunting me to move?! He was an amazing colleague and friend, who was never too busy to lend a hand or an ear. I will always remember Peter's sense of humour and the many laughs we shared.

    Jeanne Liu, Peter's Colleague and Friend
  • I first met Peter in Kingston Ontario during Spring 2000, at a gathering of Anglo American geochemists. Peter was responsible for Anglo geochemical exploration in Africa at that time, and we later gathered again over the next few years at geochemical symposia and field trips in Chile and Ireland. Peter was always an impressive intellect, but when he moved to Vancouver several years ago to become Professor of exploration geochemistry at MDRU-UBC and I had the opportunity to speak with him more often, I could not help but be impressed by what a fine job he was doing in bringing the teaching of exploration geochemistry back to UBC in Vancouver. He was head of the local organizing committee for the 2018 International Applied Geochemistry Symposium held here in Vancouver last year as part of the large RFG 2018 conference, and did a masterful job. Peter was an accomplished scientist and a good friend. He had a great sense of humour, and he will be greatly missed.

    Stephen Cook, Friend and Colleague
  • Peter and I were colleagues at UBC active in completely different if not orthogonal areas of research but with a common passion for working on applied problems with industry. I have extremely fond memories talking to Peter in his office on the top floor of ESB sharing our experiences trying to make industry collaborations work. I will dearly miss Peter's insights and above all his relentless sense of humor.

    Felix, Ex colleague
  • I am a geophysicist. Years ago, Peter gave a lecture on applied geochemistry and that was so far the only geochemical class I attended in my life. I still recall some basic principles in applied geochemistry he taught in class. I am grateful our paths crossed in that lecture and I have learned some geochemistry from him (geophysicists usually don't learn geochemistry).

    Dikun Yang, Former EOAS student
  • I was privileged to have Peter supervise my BSc honours thesis at UBC. Peter's vast knowledge and love for geochemistry, along with his unyielding dedication to his students is what inspired me to start a masters in geochemistry. Peter was the type of person that remained very humble despite his vast accomplishments, and was always approachable and easy to talk with. I will fondly remember the quick jokes he would add into our discussions in his office and his quirky email chains. Although Peter could never tell me apart from my twin brother, who also went to UBC, he still tried his best to tell us apart and would come up with a new joke about it whenever he ran into both of us. Peter will be sorely missed, however, I am thankful I had the opportunity to get to know the brilliant and caring person Peter was and learn all that I could from him.

    Taylor Ledoux, Peter's student
List of Donors
All Donors
  • Lynda Bloom

  • Tim Craske

  • Anonymous Donation

  • Ryan Noble

  • Anglo American

  • Jamil Sader

  • John Barr

  • Anonymous Donation

  • Stephen Cook

  • John and Anne Thompson

  • Nick Hayward

  • Paul Hamlyn

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