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Dr. Wayne Goodfellow is a member of the first group of recipients to have been awarded an O’Brien post-Graduate Fellowship in 1975. He had just completed a study of the world-class Brunswick No. 12 Zn-Pb-Cu ore deposit near Bathurst, N.B., as part of a Ph.D. thesis at the University of New Brunswick when the O’Brien Foundation launched a major program to fund post-graduate research. The timing was opportune but the fact he was from the Miramichi region, the home of Honourable J. Leonard O'Brien and his wife Kathleen O'Brien, made this new fellowship program seem almost providential. Since he grew up on a small farm outside of Newcastle, he was naturally well aware of the O’Brien Family and the major role that they had played in the development of a lumber industry in the area and in the political and social life of the Miramichi in particular and New Brunswick in general.
After being awarded an O’Brien Fellowship, which was renewal up to three years, he continued his research at the University of New Brunswick with a focus on the development and testing of new and effective methods of exploring for mineral deposits concealed at depth in the Earth’s crust. However, as it turned out, he was an O’Brien Fellow for only one year. In 1976, he was offered the position of Research Scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) in Ottawa where he has had a long career that spanned more than 35 years. His research interests are fairly broad and include the genesis seafloor hydrothermal sulphide deposits (Sedex, VMS), the evolution of oceans and atmospheres through time, the cause and consequences of giant meteorite impacts, and the development of deeply penetrating geochemical exploration methods. This research has taken him around the world and to most parts of Canada including the far north, and has facilitated collaboration with international and multidisciplinary teams of scientists. For example, research along the Juan de Fuca Ridge off the western coast of Canada allowed him to dive to the ocean floor in the Alvin submersible to observe active vents and spectacular chemosynthetic biological communities, and to participate in the drilling of the oceanic crust under the international Ocean Drilling Program. Perhaps one of the most exciting research projects was the search for the cause of mass biological extinctions in the geological record, such as the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction event about 65 million years ago when dinosaurs were wiped out by a giant meteorite impacting the Yucatan Peninsula in northern Mexico.