Distinguished guests, executive members of MAC, friends, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
I am truly honoured and humbled to be here today to receive the MAC Young Scientist Award. There are very few things in one's career that are better than being recognized by peers and colleagues from your home. Although I have been in East for over a decade now, I try my best to maintain and develop professional and personal contacts in Canada by attending the annual GAC/MAC meeting from time to time, publishing in Canadian journals and writing for GAC newsletters. Canada and Nova Scotia are never far from my thoughts and I don't need much of a reason to come home or to start a research project here.
The Young Scientist Award recognizes an individual however it is a culmination of personal perseverance and the patience and dedication of teachers and supervisors for whom I will be certainly be forever grateful. For they are the ones who take the risk in shaping and molding a student into something, that, hopefully, will contribute to the greater community. I thank Prof. Jahn Bor-Ming who convinced me to move to Taiwan for a post-doctoral fellowship at Academia Sinica. At the Institute of Earth Sciences I was able to run wild with the analytical facilities and pursue any topic I wanted and was given the means to do it. Professor Zhou Mei-Fu at The University of Hong Kong who, as a supervisor, provided the perfect balance of independence and guidance during my degree. I am proud to have been part of such a wonderful research group at HKU. Prof. Neil MacRae of Western University, which was called Western Ontario when I attended, perhaps that is a sign of my age and I suppose, from a Nova Scotian's perspective, everything is to the west anyways. Neil's supervision emphasized the fundamentals of good writing and petrography, a skill that unlock the many secrets that a rock does not wish to share but cannot hide. The staff at Saint Mary's University during my time, Qadeer Siddiqui, Georgie Pe-Piper, Victor Owen and John Waldron who provided a solid foundation in the geological sciences. I would especially like to acknowledge Jaroslav Dostal. As department head, Jarda gave me the hard sell on geology 20 years ago as a first year undergraduate. As I recall he promised to buy me beer if I did not get a B- or higher in my course. He probably couldn't actually do that but what does a first year undergraduate really know? Since then our relationship has developed from student-teacher to student-mentor to professional colleagues and has spanned over half my life. We have published many papers together and it has been a very fruitful, engaging and enjoyable partnership which will continue for many more years. I would like to thank my family and wife, who is here with me today, for their support, even though they may not fully understand what I do, they know I enjoy my research immensely and they make the down times tolerable and the successes sweeter. Finally, I am indebted to the National Science Council of Taiwan and National Taiwan Normal University for fully supporting my research and providing a comfortable and pleasant environment for me to pursue my endeavors wherever they may take me and whatever they may be.
For the MACF scholarship and travel grant winners. Congratulations. Nearly 10 years ago I was sitting where you are now at the MAC luncheon in Halifax along with Kimberly Tait, the 2013 YSA recipient. One can never predict the future with any accuracy in spite of high precision. You never really know the outcome of a decision for many years or even a decade afterward. I am in East Asia partially by chance, partially by choice mixed with a lot of curiosity. Moving to Hong Kong was one of the best decisions of my life, both professionally and personally, as it introduced me to a new world of self-discovery and career opportunities. In fact I learned as much about being Canadian as I have about Chinese culture and society. Whichever career path you choose, whether it is academia, public or private industry, I encourage you to take the road less travelled, it is daunting, tough and sometimes it may feel like a mistake, but believe me, it does make all the difference.
In closing, I would like to thank MAC and the past-presidents selection committee for bestowing this honour and I look forward to seeing all of you next year in Montreal at the joint annual meeting.
Thank you very much.
J. Gregory Shellnutt