1915-1924 | 1925-1949 | 1950-1974 | 1975-1999 | 2000-present


1915– University of British Columbia opens with three Faculties: Applied Science, Arts and Science, and Agriculture. Applied Science comprises the Departments of Civil, Mechanical and Mining Engineering, which includes Metallurgy.

1915–1945– John M. Turnbull serves as Head of the Mining Engineering Department (including Metallurgy).1919-1920– The department offers a full, four-year course in Mining and Metallurgy. The department is now called Mining and Metallurgy.

1921– The first student graduates from Metallurgy.

1922– The B.A.Sc. (Bachelor of Applied Science) degree is awarded for the first time.

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Dr. Frank Forward was a highly respected metallurgist, prominent in the Canadian engineering world and an influential figure in the development of UBC’s international reputation for excellence in metallurgy.
He was Head of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering (now Materials Engineering) at UBC for 19 years from 1945 to 1964.


1925– The Mining and Metallurgy Department moves into its own building on the Point Grey campus of UBC.

1936– Frank Forward is appointed to the Mining and Metallurgy Department to teach Metallurgy and to develop the metallurgical research capability.

1943– The War Metals Research board is created during the Second World War and funds research and equipment at UBC.

1945-1964– Frank Forward serves as Department Head. 

1948– The first two graduate students graduate with an M.A.Sc. in Metallurgy. Frank Forward invents the Sherritt Nickel process.

1948-1950– Intensive research in the hydrometallurgy of uranium expands the department. The uranium extraction research building burns down in 1951.

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Dr. Keith Brimacombe was one of the most highly regarded materials engineers of his time. He graduated as an undergraduate student from the Materials Engineering program at UBC, only to return later to become a professor.
While at UBC his work on materials processing led to a revolution in thinking for many companies who benefitted greatly from his consulting and research work.


1952– The Sherritt-Gordon Chair of Metallurgy is created.

1956– John Lund is hired by the department and sets up research in Powder Metallurgy.

1956– The new Physical Metallurgy building is opened.

1959– Asoke Chaklader is hired by the Department and sets up the Ceramics division.

1961– The Department of Metallurgy is divided from Mining and forms its own department.

1964-1966– William (Bill) Armstrong serves as Head of the Department of Metallurgy.

1966–1969– William Armstrong serves as the sixth Dean of Applied Science.

1966-1980– Ed Teghtsoonian serves as head of the Department.

1967– The Center for Materials Research is established at UBC.

1968– The Frank Forward Building is completed, housing the Department of Metallurgy.

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Dr. Gordon Forward is one of North America’s most prominent engineers. Amoung his many honors, he has been named to the prestigeous National Acadamy of Engineers in the United States, and he has been awarded with the President’s Volunteer Service Award by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for his work on sustainable industrial practice


1980– The name of the department is changed to Department of Metallurgical Engineering.

1980-1985– Fred Weinberg serves as Department Head.

1980– Keith Brimacombe is appointed the first Stelco Chair of Metallurgy.

1984– The Centre for Metallugical Process Engineering is set up by Keith Brimacombe.

1985-1986– John Nadeau serves as Department Head.

1987-1992– John Lund serves as Department Head.

1987– The name of the department is changed to Department of Metals and Materials Engineering.

1989– Keith Brimacombe is appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

1992-1999– Ray Meadowcroft serves as Department Head.

1995– The AMPEL building is completed—home of the Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratories. Two years later it was renamed the Keith J. Brimacombe building in honour of acclaimed Metals and Materials Engineering professor who died in 1997. This building provides space for collaboration between interdisciplinary Applied Sciences departments and fosters industrial research.

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Dr. Indira Samarasekera came to Canada as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Materials Engineering at UBC. Since then she has reached amazing heights, going from highly respected Professor at UBC, to Order of Canada Recipient and Vice President of Research at UBC, to her current role as President of the University of Alberta.


2000-2008– Steve Cockcroft serves as Department Head.

2002– Indira Samarasekera is appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

2004– The name of the department is changed to Department of Materials Engineering.

2008– Warren J. Poole is appointed Department Head.

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Dr. Ernest (Ernie) Peters was a Professor in the Department of Mining and Metallurgy from 1958 until his retirement in 1992. He was an important figure in the development of UBC as a Centre of Excellence in Hydrometallurgy and he initiated the establishment of the first Industrial Research Chair of Hydrometallurgy, which continues today.