Rupert ("Ru") Denis Ashley Smith (born 1962) grew up in Yorkshire, northern England. Educated in Earth Sciences at Durham and Cambridge universities, he has lived and worked as a geologist in England, the Netherlands, Gabon, Norway, Oman, USA and Malaysia.
An interest in mineralogy (and many other aspects of the natural world) dates back to early days, age about 7, tramping across the Yorkshire Dales. As a teenager in Leeds, he was inspired by two spectacular specimens (a huge tabular Silverband baryte and a large vivid blue Caldbeck linarite crystal on quartz) encountered in a small shop in the Merrion Centre and priced at just a few pounds. Ted and Mary Smithson of Bardsey Bank Top would take him out field collecting in the Yorkshire Dales. He later also collected in Cumbria and Durham, and as a teenager wandering the US and Mexico by Greyhound bus brought back some extremely fine Chihuahua wulfenites, fluorites and rhodochrosites. The Silverband baryte and Caldbeck linarite, along with the Mexican minerals and a suite of other treasures (Welsh brookite, Cornish liroconite and so on) were lost along the way (left with a pair of friendly dealers, Don and Wally, and never retrieved – a result of feeling bogged down with worldly possessions). Perhaps it would have been a good plan to have kept hold of those!
The focus of the mineralogical collections has been as follows:
1) the minerals of northern England, in part due to the family connection with the Westgarth Forsters (Westgarth the elder, 1738-1797, agent at the Allenheads and Coalcleugh mines, was his great-great-great-great grandfather);
2) crystallography and in particular the phenomenon of crystal twinning;
3) the historical context of knowledge about minerals and the early days of collecting (the collections include a good number of specimens and labels from the late 18th and early 19th century).
In addition to mineralogical interests, he has published widely on sedimentology and computer modelling of subsurface geology as well as on topics in palaeobiology. In this latter area, new species named for him include Burmacyrtus rusmithi (a Cretaceous insect in Myanmar amber) and Boreopeltis smithi (an exceptionally preserved Cretaceous vampyromorph cephalopod).
Collection labels are compact (35 x 26 mm), with catalogue numbers in the form RS.M0000 (reaching RS.M1612 in June 2018).
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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Number of labels found: 2 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 2
||26 x 35 mm|