Geological Science and Engineering

Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering
Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

Remembering Dr. Kurt Kyser


A service will be held in Grant Hall,

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 awards 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 honours, 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 Editor-in-Chief of the Geological Society of London’s journal Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis, 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 in Montana, grew up in California, and completed his B.Sc. at the University of California, San Diego, and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkley.  His Ph.D. research pioneered the use of stable isotopes to understand seafloor basalt.  He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver and a NATO post-doctoral 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.

- Eric E. Hiatt and Peir K. Pufahl


View the obituary posted in the Globe and Mail.


A memorial scholarship fund has been set up in Kurt's name. Make a gift online, or you can send a cheque payable to Queen's University with 'In memory of Kurt Kyser' in the memo field to:


Queen's University
Attn: Emily Mackwood
Office of Advancement
Old Medical Building, Room 303
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6