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Bill was one of the first OU PhD graduates in 1974 with a Life and Earth Sciences PhD entitled "Palaeomagnetic Studies in The British Caledonides". Studying at the inception of the discovery of plate tectonics, Bill was swept along with the excitement of that, almost revolutionary, time in the field of Geology. It was a long way from his childhood in Lancashire where he went on to Thomas Linacre Secondary Technical School in Wigan after a local primary education. The school had a very strong science focus of which Bill was able to take advantage and achieved a higher-than-average number of O and A levels, supported by his mother,... despite no family history of higher education. He chose to study Geology at Leeds University which had a great reputation for geology at the time. He vividly remembers a pivotal field trip to Scotland in his final year, when he realised his knowledge was too general and that he needed to specialise to become expert. His passion for hands-on analysis of rocks led him to one of many influential fortuitous contacts he made in his career, Professor Jim Briden, who supervised his PhD research. Whilst studying at the OU, he found the transformative effect on students he taught at the OU summer school very inspiring. This experience led him to pursue his lifelong academic career. Bill started a post-doctorate appointment in Canada at the University of Western Ontario, before completing his PhD. He had to fly back for his thesis defense. He has remained in Canada ever since, finding his niche at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in 1989. He started as an Associate Professor in the department of Geology making his way up to Chair of the department in 1994 and then became a Professor of Geography and Earth Sciences in 1998. In 2015 he became, and remains today, an Emeritus Professor of Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster. Alongside his prolific authorship of books and journal articles and supervision of PhDs.
Metadata describing this interview
Title: Professor Bill Morris Interview
Interviewer: Elizabeth Currie
Abstract: Bill Morris discusses his childhood and early education, his interest in geology and his experiences at the University of Leeds and studying for his PhD with the OU. Morris talk about his career in Canada, as well as his fieldwork in Mexico, South Africa, the Maldives and more.
Date of interview: 15-04-21
Interview duration: 01:02:39
Recording type: Video interview
Rights statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: Contact the OU Archive prior to any re-use. Contact
Available to public: no