Keynote Address: 6th International Symposium For Rock Fragmentation By Blasting
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 2000
Having agreed to perform this task, I naturally started to wonder what on earth I was going to talk about, and on reviewing the literature I was surprised at how little I knew and how much I?d forgotten about the origins of this industry. For example: ?I?d forgotten that the Chinese invented black powder at least 1 000 years ago, back in the 10th century (although some say this invention occurred 2 000years ago). ?I didn?t know that Roger Bacon was the first person in the Western World to give exact directions for the making of gunpowder in 1242 and to understand its potential. Pepper?s Playbook of Metals quotes:?...above all, he is named as the discoverer of gun-powder, a material which has brought more wonderful changes in the great family of man than the most potent elixir that could have been devised to prolong life?.