In December, 2008, about 70 of his former PhD students, friends, and family gathered near the University of California, Berkeley, to celebrate Professor Douglas W. Fuerstenau's (DWF) 80th birthday.
I don't believe I knew of DWF's existence when I was an undergraduate at Berkeley in the late 1960s. He was on leave and his course "Particulate Materials Processing" was taught by Prof. Klaus Schonert of Germany. When considering graduate school I talked with my instructors about possible options. I wanted to specialize in an area relevant to Africa. High voltage electron microscopy, an area where Berkeley was then a world leader excited me, but I could not see how to pursue this research area once I was back in Africa. My professors suggested I consider the University of British Columbia (Prof. Peters' hydrometallurgy school), and the Henry Krumb School at Columbia University. Eventually one of the professors asked "Have you talked to Prof. Fuerstenau?" I replied "Who is he?"
I was extremely fortunate that I became his graduate student and it was an honor to be a part of this DWF@80 celebration. My wife Fran accompanied me and spontaneously captured the words of wisdom from this giant of the broad field of minerals and materials processing and engineering on her digital camera. With permission from DWF, I am honored and pleased to share his reflections. Below is the first of 4 parts that I will be posting.