The subtitle of this book – The incredible journey of a mutinous youth in India to professor of mining in Australia – points to the full story. Gour Sen was a lecturer specialising in explosives at the University of New South Wales in the 1980s and 1990s, rising to the position of the head of the school.
Gour taught a number of people in the quarrying industry. This memoir covers his life, from early youth to his professorship. Underlying this life story is a common theme – of a troubled youth who lost his father at an early age and struggled with acceptance before he was found by a mentor who pointed him in the right direction and then excelled in his chosen field.
Struggles in India, ultimate relocation to the UK and academic challenges with the native tongue all make for a narrative of perseverance.
Gour had a substantial career with ICI, the forerunner to Orica, in the UK and India, taught in the UK and became a full time academic in Australia. After 20 years with the Unversity of NSW, Gour had a short period consulting for the University of Wollongong before he published a revised, expanded edition of his technical book Blasting Technology for Mining and Civil Engineers. This is a story of difficulty, luck, discovery, dedication and passion.
The print edition of Major Miner was launched last year by Emeritus Professor Mark S Wainwright, past vice chancellor and president of the University of NSW. Wainwright has also written the foreword to the new e-book edition that is being published by Engineers Australia this year.
Gour Sen has risen above a troubled youth and had an outstanding academic career and productive business life. He and his wife Brigid have travelled the width and breadth of the world, a story that should be an inspiration to all, and in particular anyone who has struggled with their own youth. ?
Reviewed by Jim Hankins