John Russel Evans (1949 - 2014)
Seismology and geophysics are much the poorer with the passing of Russ Evans, of British Geological Survey, Edinburgh, late last year. He grew up in South Wales, and studied Pure Maths at King’s College Cambridge from 1968-1971, and after taking an MSc in Maths at Warwick, returned to Cambridge to take his PhD, now in Geophysics. He then moved for a few years to the Carnegie Institute in Washington DC, moving to Edinburgh to join BGS in 1978.
He worked first on the Turkish Dilatancy Projects in the Marmara Sea region, studying shear-wave splitting as a possible earthquake precursor (and acquiring the ability to speak fluent Turkish in the process). Back in Edinburgh, he supported the Global Seismology Unit with his skills in computing, until in 1992 he branched out from seismology and took over the BGS’s Regional Geophysics group in Edinburgh and showed his versatility in working with magnetic and gravity, as well as seismic data to help understand UK geology both onshore and offshore.
In 2000 Russ’s career took a new turn when he was promoted to a managerial post with responsibility for more than 100 members of BGS staff in geophysics and marine geosciences distributed between the Edinburgh and Nottingham offices. Russ took very seriously his responsibilities to guide the careers of junior staff and to provide them with opportunities to progress. He was unfailingly generous with his time and encouragement, as I can personally testify.
In the last four years Russ took the lead for BGS in the European Plate Observing System project – EPOS – which has the ambition to connect together national geophysical networks, laboratories and computing facilities to build an infrastructure to support research for decades to come. Russ showed quite amazing determination to see the ‘Preparatory Phase’ of EPOS through to a successful conclusion, even in the last few weeks. He also was very active outside of BGS as editor of Geophysical Journal International from 1997-2008, and he supported geophysics in the UK through the Joint Association for Geophysics (JAG), which in 1997 was renamed the British Geophysical Association, which represents the geophysical interests of the Geological Society and Royal Astronomical Society. His interests outside geophysics were also wide, and included rugby and jazz, and he was an able keyboard player who performed regularly. His passing leaves a sad gap in the lives of all who knew him and worked with him.