Milton Graves, 2016

Milton Charles Graves

Science Atlantic Outstanding Contributing Member, 2016
Membre exceptionnel 2016 de Science Atlantique


Milton Graves (BSc, College of Mines-University of Idaho; MSc, Dalhousie University) has been inducted into the Science Atlantic Member Hall of Fame as an Outstanding Contributing Member of 2016.

Milton Graves became a member of the Science Atlantic Earth Science Committee in 2009 and served as the Chair of the Committee from 2012-2015. Additionally, while previously not a formal member of Science Atlantic, Milton was involved as an advisor and judge for the Atlantic Universities Geoscience Conference (AUGC). When asked what he thought was the most important aspect of the work done by Science Atlantic, Mr. Graves said the annual student conferences supported by the organization.


Milton Graves judging poster by student Mark Barry (2003)

Mr. Graves began his geology career studying fluid inclusions in gold deposits mined during the 19th century in southern Nova Scotia. In 1973, while visiting the University of Minnesota, he built the first specialized microscope stage with a heating and cooling facility for use in the Atlantic region for the analysis of fluid inclusions, tiny bubbles of liquid and gas trapped inside minerals since their formation. Using this instrument, he was the first person to demonstrate that CO2 was abundant in the fluids that precipitated gold-bearing quartz veins. Milton also was the first to calibrate a geo-thermometer to measure the temperature at which rocks formed using the mineral arsenopyrite – a calibration that has been confirmed by numerous modern studies.

His former graduate advisor, Dr. Marcos Zentilli, recalls, “Milton was my first graduate student in 1973. From Milton I learned more about Canadian and Nova Scotian history than from anyone else in the last 42 years. [He has] an inquisitive mind that thinks in multiple dimensions and makes you think laterally and holistically. I owe Milton a good chunk of my academic career. He has the ability to make you look at problems from unexpected, original, points of view.”


Presentation to Milton Graves by Chris Moore, Dean of Science (Dal), November 2016

Once he completed his Masters in 1976, Mr. Graves went on to pursue a career in Calgary. After the 1980s oil slump he returned to Halifax, where he worked as part of a team looking into the involvement of organic carbon in various mineral deposits: from bitumen in Gays River, Pb-Zn in Windsor, graphite in Eastville, Pb-Zn in the Meguma terrane of southern Nova Scotia, and petroleum in Cu Manto deposits in Chile.

In the 1980s, Mr. Graves also formed the company Cuesta Research Limited, which hired many graduate and honours theses students through various international contracts.

In 2004, Milton became an instructor at Dalhousie University in the Earth Sciences department, where he taught until retiring in 2015. During this time, Mr. Graves’s interests focused on understanding how students learn science at the undergraduate level.  Through the integrated science program at Dalhousie he assisted in developing research projects that could be completed by first-year undergraduate students with little expense with a field component.

We are pleased to recognize Milton Graves as an Outstanding Contributing Member for his contribution to Science Atlantic and the larger scientific community.