Dr. Randall Miller, Research Curator and Head of Geology and Palaeontology at the New Brunswick Museum and an adjunct professor at the University of New Brunswick, recently received the Distinguished Scientist Award (Gesner Medal) from the Atlantic Geoscience Society.
The Award is made annually to a person who has developed and promoted the advancement of geoscience in the Atlantic region, and whose contribution is large enough in scope to have made an impact beyond the immediate Atlantic region.
Miller has published widely in the technical literature in palaeontology and is perhaps best known in international scientific circles for the discovery near Campbellton of the world’s oldest articulated shark fossil. He is the acknowledged expert on the history of palaeontological research in the region, largely through his publications dealing with the New Brunswick Museum geology collection.
Miller’s numerous media appearances and interviews, public talks, field trips, and popular writing have played an important role in making the field of geology accessible. The popular Our Changing Earth geology gallery at the New Brunswick Museum, as well as temporary geology exhibitions that have toured the province, also reflect Miller’s deep interest in communicating the science of geology to a broad audience. His most recent popular writing includes the children’s book Will and the Giant Trilobite; and Rebuilt in Stone: Geology and the Stone Buildings of Saint John, the latter coauthored with New Brunswick Museum Curator of History and Technology Gary Hughes.
Jane Fullerton, CEO of the New Brunswick Museum, said that “we are delighted to see this well-deserved recognition of Miller’s work. It is appropriate that he is receiving the Gesner Medal; the Museum’s geology collection traces its origins to Dr. Abraham Gesner’s early 19th century explorations of the region.” Dr. Donald McAlpine, Head of the Natural Science Department at the New Brunswick Museum, notes that Miller’s “fascination with his subject is infectious. He excels in bridging the gap between the purely academic and the popular.”
Dr. Miller studied geology at the University of Waterloo, receiving the Pearson Medal for Outstanding Evidence of Creative Scholarship for his Ph. D. thesis in Environmental Earth Science. After two years of research for the Geological Survey of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Nature, Miller moved to Saint John in 1986 to take up his present position. Miller’s job includes organizing and developing the Museum’s geology and palaeontology collection, one of the oldest in the country, with mineral and fossils specimens collected as far back as the 1820s. His varied research projects have included studies of fossil sharks, giant sea scorpions and walrus, fossil reptile footprints and the use of fossil beetle remains as predictors of past climatic changes at the close of the last ice age. Most recently he has played a key role in the Stonehammer Geological Project, a community initiative with considerable economic potential, that is expected to see the Saint John region designated as the first Geopark in North America.
For further information on Miller’s work and the New Brunswick Museum geology collection, visit the Museum website at www.nbm-mnb.ca
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