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Mentorship matters: In memory of Dr. Gordon Gore

A number of years ago I read a book by one of my favourite authors – Mitch Albom, “The  Five  People You  Meet  in Heaven”.  One of the themes of this book is that some people we encounter in our lives make a profound impact on us independently if we realized that at the time or not. For me, one such a person was and is Dr. Gordon Gore, who passed away on November 11, 2020. I have never met him in person, yet we have exchanged emails and small gifts for the last number of years. Every winter, I would receive a nice Christmas card or a calendar with the most beautiful picture of his.

I have heard of Gordon for the first time when on behalf of the BC Association of Physics Teachers I congratulated him with an award for his contributions to physics teaching. Then we began corresponding. He has been such an inspirational, knowledgeable and yet modest and open-minded person that I didn’t realize to the fullest how lucky I was to have such a serendipitous encounter. Gordon’s passion for physics teaching, his deep knowledge of physics both theoretical and experimental, his generosity, his sense of humour were incredible. I know many generations of physics teachers consider him their Teacher.

He also was an amazing photographer – his pictures of nature, of the full moon, of birds, brought happiness and the sense of wonder to many of us. However, most incredibly, he had an endless patience and generosity towards other teachers and of course students. I met a few students who decided to become physics teachers thanks to Gordon, as these students were able to visit Big Little Science Centre in Kamloops and fell in loves with hands-on science. Many of us have asked him for advice and he would always try to help.  He has been deeply respected by BC physics teachers and students.

Dr. Gordon Gore (1937-2020)

Later, I realized that the physics methods course I have been teaching for 10 years (EDCP 357) now is the course originally taught and envisioned by Gordon. Gordon has been teaching science methods courses at UBC in the 70s. He has been a master of hands-on science teaching and he was able to pass it on to his students many of whom became science teacher. He also co-founded Big Little Science Centre in Kamloops – a science museum for young and older. And the physics textbooks he had written have been used by thousands of students all across British Columbia. He would share his textbooks with my students – future physics teachers every year. We appreciated it very much.

Gordon Gore’s photograph of the Kamloops Golf Course

I am so grateful I had an opportunity to meet Gordon. I know he is one of the people who had an incredible impact on me and I hope on my students. I will miss him… RIP Dr. Gordon Gore – a very inspirational mentor to me and to many BC Physics Teachers. You will be missed, but your passion for life and for physics teaching and learning will live on.

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