Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research
Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences,
The University of British Columbia
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Current News

Visit of the Crown Prince of Belgium

Vancouver, March 13, 2008

On Thursday March 13 2008, UBC was honoured by the visit of the Crown Prince of Belgium, HRH Prince Philippe. One of the goals was to visit the Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research (PCIGR) at the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences.

HRH Prince Philippe first met with UBC President Pr. Stephen Toope accompanied by the Ministers de Donnea and Ceysens, the Belgian Ambassador Lint and the Canadian Ambassador Glasgow, G. D’Hoop, Serge Jaumain (VP International, Université Libre de Bruxelles) and Craig Klafter (VP International, UBC). This was followed by a stop at the Anthropology Museum and then by an extended visit of the PCIGR, with Dr. Dominique Weis, CRC Tier I (Geochemistry of the Earth’s Mantle). The Crown Prince was accompanied by a large press entourage, as well as bodyguards and numerous official representatives.

In the discussions during the visit of some of the PCIGR instruments, the Crown Prince showed vivid interest and asked numerous questions. He was interested in finding out more about:

• our isotopic studies on oysters and mussels in the Western Pacific to trace the origin of the high cadmium contents and the comparison with French oysters,
• what can we find about the origin of diamonds with isotopic studies,
• lead pollution in the Vancouver area and how we trace it by an isotopic study of old trees from Stanley Park,
• what is interesting about mantle plumes and why, where, and when to study them,
• why do we date rocks, among other subjects.

With the two ministers, he also asked Dr. Weis for a comparison between Canada and Belgium in terms of supporting research and if she would consider going back to Belgium after living in such a beautiful city.
The group was very impressed by the technology, the team, and the remarkable, high-technology instruments.

At the occasion of this honourable visit, there was also an interview with the main French speaking Belgian TV (RTBf1) for Drs. Weis and Jaumain where they discussed the great interest of preferential collaboration between universities, student and research exchanges.