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Timothy Greenland's Mindat Home Page

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Tim's Mindat CV

Registered member since 26th Jun 2009

Timothy Greenland has uploaded:
38 Mineral Photos
14 Locality Photos
213 Other Photos

Timothy has published 7 articles on mindat.org
I was born in 1940 in Hereford (England) and quickly discovered an interest in chemistry! I had read all the available books on the subject in the local library before I ever studied the subject at school. This inevitably led to some experimental efforts in those less regulated days - I still bear some scars today... After basic schooling I was accepted at Manchester University (Tech) to study chemistry and eventually got a B.Sc. in the subject. While I was studying I became curious about where all the different chemical elements that make up the world were to be found, but the subject was not widely addressed in my courses. One day in 1962 while drinking coffee with some friends in the cafeteria a young lecturer asked us if there was anyone with sme experience of caving who would be prepared to accompany him on a trip to an old mine in Derbyshire where he wanted to make some studies. I had a little underground experience and was curious, so I went along with the plan. This was the start of my mineralogical existence. The young lecturer (now a respected senior of the mineral community with an exotic mineral named after him) took me to the Rutland Cave mine (then called 'The Great Rutland Cavern' by its owner) where he wanted to see if any of the aurichalcite and/or rosasite occurring there might have been neoformations. We found none in ancient pick marks or other disturbed zones, but plenty in the mother rock - so it was intrinsic... I was hooked. From then on, every weekend and holiday was spent on trips to reachable mineral loclaities. The long vacations provided occasions to visit the continent of Europe and Ireland. Many mines now closed were then in operation, and many owners and guardians were helpful to university people who wanted to examine their sites - how the world has changed! I amassed a respectable mineral collection and, despite a typical student's lack of funds, managed to get hold of a good number of interesting specimens that I could not collect by exchange or occasionally purchase. I was greatly encouraged by help from people like Mr Bottley in London who often let me rummage through the residue of old collections for overlooked 'bits' and was very generous in exchange and understanding of my lack of purchasing power. I also have memeories of being shown ‘backroom’ specimens at the British Museum by Peter Embrey… Another wonderful help was Prof ‘Bob’ Howie at Manchester (Owens) geology dept.

A couple of years later, I left the field of pure chemistry to make use of my skills, such as they were, in a more biological context. I took a M.Sc course in immunology (then a very new and obscure subject) at Birmingham University. The separation from my mineralogical contacts at Manchester slowed me down somewhat, but we still met for many an expedition, often with a great but little known mineralogist – JR Knight of Manchester – a very good friend. I also got married to a French girl I had met on a mineral expedition to the Beaujolais lead mines, and we were raising a son which slowed me down even more. I then moved to France and embarked on a research career embracing the evolution of parasites, particularly viruses, and the use of computers in analysing viral and parasite DNA… There was no time at all for mineralogy, particularly as my second wife and I had a family of 3 to keep us busy!

I finally retired in 2005 and at last had time to get back to my dear mineralogy… The collection came out of mothballs, and I started to find how much I had forgotten and how the field had changed while I was virus chasing… Luckily I discovered Mindat fairly quickly and it has been a constant help and support ever since. I am less able to undertake the more strenuous part of mineralogy, but am still very willing to swing a hammer at a promising boulder given the chance. I am always happy to meet and chat with others with mineralogical leanings and participate actively in local shows and fairs. My collection is eclectic – I specialise in pieces that appeal to me! That might be for chemical composition, locality, beauty, or whatever – even a weird name can tip me over… I am always trying to improve the cataloguing and maintenance of the collection or about 2500 numbered and described pieces ranging from millimetric micromounts to clunky cabinet specimens. I have a symbiotic relationship with my binocular ‘scope – but my photography skills need a lot of work yet.

In short, I am an amateur in mineralogy and a weak geologist, but I still know a bit of chemistry and have a knowledge of the ‘scientific method’ (even if I don’t always succeed in following the rules as closely as I should). I am a very poor mathematician and my crystallography is rudimentary – but I do try…


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