Kurt Kyser

Professor T. Kurt Kyser, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and pioneering geochemist, died while teaching in Bermuda on August 29, 2017.

Professor Kyser joined the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering at Queen’s University in 1995. He created and directed one of the leading geochemistry laboratories in North America, the Queen’s Facility for Isotope Research. Dr. Kyser was a world-renowned researcher whose creativity and gift for solving scientific problems produced more than 500 peer-reviewed papers, books, book chapters, and technical reports. Beyond these seminal contributions, his lasting legacy is the hundreds of former students and post-doctoral fellows that he mentored. Each was touched in an insightful and inspirational way that not only challenged them, but elevated them as people.

Dr. Kyser’s work has been recognized by numerous awards and accolades. Prominent medals include the Duncan R. Derry Medal, Hawley Medal, Willet G. Miller Medal, Past President’s Medal of the Mineralogical Association of Canada, and Past President’s Medal of the Geological Association of Canada. In addition to these honors, he was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Queen’s Research Chair, a Queen’s National Scholar, a Killam Research Fellow, a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America, and recipient of the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship. Dr. Kyser’s service to the scientific community was also unwavering. He was the Past President of the Mineralogical Association of Canada and an active member of the Mineralogical Society of America, American Geophysical Union, Geochemical Society of America, Association of Applied Geochemists, and the Mineralogical Association of Canada.

Dr. Kyser was born October 1951 in Livingston  to parents Thomas E. Kyser and Billy Jean Smart, from Livingston. He grew up in California, and completed his B.se. at the University of California, San Diego, and earned his MA and Ph.D from the University of California, Berkley. His Ph.D research pioneered the use of stable isotopes in understanding seafloor basalt. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver and a NATO postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Paris in 1980. Before coming to Queen’s, he was a faculty member in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. He collaborated with colleagues worldwide and believed strongly that field geology is fundamental to geochemical research. Many close friendships were born from these collaborations, which led to fieldwork in Canada, Australia, United States, Africa, South America, Europe, and Russia.

Professor Kyser is survived by his wife and partner in science and life, April Vuletich, and his larger family of former students and post-doctoral fellows.

Message from Vicki Remenda, Head of Department: “We are so very grateful for the messages we have received. The support has been immeasurably important to members of the Queen’s Geology family during this terrible time.

No arrangements are yet in place for a memorial. It is asked that people refrain from sending flowers at this time.

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