George Govier begins the interview with a discussion of his family background and youth. Govier grew up in Canada, the son of a business owner. While in high school, he developed a strong interest in chemistry, mathematics, and physics, and decided to pursue chemical engineering because it combined many of these interests. Govier attended the University of British Columbia, where he earned his B.A.Sc. in chemical engineering in 1939.
After graduation, he accepted a position with Standard Oil of British Columbia. A year later, he became an instructor at the University of Alberta, and began his graduate studies, receiving his M.Sc. in physical chemistry in 1945. As he had summers off from teaching, Govier took short-term positions with Standard Oil, the Aluminum Company of Canada, and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Conservation Board. During this time, he also took a brief leave from the University of Alberta to pursue his doctoral studies at the University of Michigan; he received his Sc.D. in chemical engineering in 1949. In 1948, Govier became the head of the University of Alberta's Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and was instrumental in developing the program there. Eleven years later, he accepted the position of dean of the Faculty of Engineering, a position which he held until his departure from the University of Alberta. Govier then became the chairman of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Conservation Board, an organization in which he had been active since 1948. He discusses the activities of the board, his involvement in various professional organizations, and his consulting experiences. Govier concludes the interview with his thoughts on the future of the petroleum industry in North America.
Govier, George W. (George Wheeler), interviewed by James G. Traynham in Calgary, Alberta on May 7, 1997. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0157. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/3484zh87j.
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