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Geoscientist Online

The Full Spectrum - My life, times and views

dzfgThere are at least four books entwined in this 725-page tome by Jim Brooks, Fellow and one time Secretary and Vice President of the Society. One is autobiography following Jim’s life from his proud Yorkshire roots in Saltaire, via Bradford Institute of Technology/ University and the science of wool wax, to the petroleum industry in the North Sea and worldwide. (The ‘full spectrum’ of the title refers to full suite of degrees Jim has been awarded by Bradford).

Another traces the development of organic geochemistry and petrology over recent decades taking in carbonaceous meteorites, evidence of early life and petroleum formation. A third observes by way of context the scientific, political and social scenes of the last 50 years or so and provides Jim’s thoughts on these as a former Labour party and CND member. A fourth tracks Jim’s journey, apparently tentative at first, from atheist or “very agnostic” position in his university days to President of the Baptist Union of Scotland, blossoming from the personal to a discussion of faith and science.

Through these four books there are tales of travels worldwide and sketches of scientific mentors and peers. More unexpectedly there are tales of personal endeavour and enjoyment from the worlds of cricket, football and politics, including encounters with characters including Jim Laker, Bobby Robson and Bob Cryer. There’s even an account of Jim ‘scouting’ for Brighton and Hove Albion, some surprising way from the teams of his Yorkshire roots.

Jim comments on his contributions to learned societies and professional bodies, notably the Society and the AAPG.  Slipped in, almost in passing, is how he was encouraged by the Society to found a specialist group on ‘Petroleum Geochemistry’ in 1979, the Royal Society of Chemistry having turned down the idea for a joint group. This group did not stand still for long. In 1983 it became transmogrified into the beginnings of the Society’s hugely successful ‘Petroleum Group’ with Jim as its founder chairman. A few years later Jim played a leading part for the Society in developing the petroleum geology ‘Barbican Conferences’ with key involvement in those of 1986, 1992 and 1997.

All strands, not to mention the length, of this book are not an easy whole and probably together are more for Jim’s family and friends. But you may find intriguing parts to dip into from the on-line download.

 

THE FULL SPECTRUM - MY LIFE, TIMES AND VIEWS

JIM BROOKS Published by Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd 2013 ISBN 978-1-78148-650-4 W: www.grosvenorhousepublishing.co.uk