- © 2006 Geological Society of South Africa
This Special Volume pays tribute to one of South Africa’s most accomplished geoscientists, Professor Nicolas Johannes Beukes on the occasion of his 60th birthday. In a career spanning more than 35 years, Nic (or ‘Prof Nic’ as he is known to his students) has trained an entire generation of young geologists, most of whom feature prominently in South Africa’s mineral industry. He has not only introduced countless international researchers to the rich geological heritage of South Africa, but also cultivated international collaboration that generated opportunities for South African students and researchers all over the world. Keys to Nic’s success remain his typically understated approach and his willingness to share his knowledge freely. His unparalleled field acumen and keen eye for observing critical geological field relationships will certainly be attested to by his students, colleagues and collaborators all over the world. There is no road too far and no mountain too steep to deter him from observing an important exposure or collecting a crucial sample.
Major accomplishment in Nic’s career include his participation in the Precambrian Paleobiology Research Group in the 1980’s, an international consortium of physical and biological scientists that investigated the evolution of life in the Precambrian, and the establishment of the Paleoproterozoic Mineralization Research Group (PPM Group) at the University of Johannesburg (then Rand Afrikaans University) in 1997. He must also be credited for being the main driving force behind the establishment of Spectrau, the central analytical facility of the Faculty of Science at the University of Johannesburg. Over the last four years, he headed the Agouron Geobiology Project, a joint effort between geoscientists from the University of Johannesburg, the United States of America (Caltech, Carnegie Insitution, Harvard, MIT, University of California Davis, Yale), Germany (International University Bremen, University Münster), and Switzerland (University of …