I’m Steve Drury, based in Cumbria, UK. From 1964 to 1970 I studied geology at Birmingham University, getting my BSc in 1967 and PhD in 1970. My doctoral thesis focused on the Archaean and Palaeoproterozoic Lewisian Gneiss Complex of the Inner Hebridean islands of Coll and Tiree, particularly its structure, metamorphism and geochemistry. After a year’s postdoctoral position at the University of Alberta, Canada, I joined the newly formed Open University in Milton Keynes, UK in 1971, where I worked until retiring in 2011.

As a member of central academic staff in the Department of Earth Sciences (now the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Science) I helped to produce distance-teaching and summer-school materials for almost all of the OU’s Earth Science Courses at Foundation-, Second- and Third Level, together with contributions to other cross-disciplinary courses.The nature of the early OU, particularly is low staffing levels, demanded that academics had to author topics that were often well outside their main interests. That experience resulted in my learning a great deal about educational writing as well as filling many blanks in my mental map of geological science. That background enabled me to take on the wide scope of the first edition of Stepping Stones published by Oxford University Press in 1999, which appears in a completely updated form here. I also write the blog Earth-Pages – a personal view of developments across the Earth sciences – for Wiley-Blackwell.

My research into Precambrian tectonics and crustal evolution took me to the Slave Province of northern Canada, East Greenland, NW Spain, India, Norway, Eritrea and Ethiopia.Since 1980 my focus steadily shifted into remote sensing and image processing for geological applications, which engaged me in British, Western Australian, Indian and NE African geoscientific topics, an enduring theme being groundwater exploration in arid lands (see Water Exploration: Remote Sensing Approaches).

If you would like to get in touch, other than by commenting on the various chapters, I can be reached at salister@btinternet.com