Anthony Evans, 1929-2017

Creator of Leicester’s courses in applied geology remembered

August 3, 2017
Anthony Evans

A leading economic geologist who pioneered new courses in mineral exploration has died.

Anthony Evans was born in Chester in February 1929 and educated at Ruthin School in North Wales. He qualified as a wireless mechanic during military service in the Royal Air Force and then studied geology and physics at the University of Liverpool (1953). He moved on to Queen’s University, Ontario, for a PhD on the local copper-nickel ores. He also spent four summers on fieldwork with the Ontario Department of Mines, acquiring a detailed knowledge of underground mapping and the evaluation of mineral deposits.

In 1957, Dr Evans was appointed an assistant lecturer at the new University of Leicester, where he taught the full range of geological subjects, from metamorphic petrology to map interpretation. He was to remain there until he retired in 1990, after being promoted to senior lecturer in 1978.

By 1961, the university had boosted its science provision by setting up a department of geology. This allowed Dr Evans to focus his teaching on mineralogy, economic and structural geology. It also enabled him to propose a strikingly innovative new course.

Since applied geology was then little taught in British universities, Dr Evans noticed a lack of qualified exploration geologists at the very time of a likely increase in global demand for base metals. He therefore developed a one-year master’s in mineral exploration and mining geology, acquiring ore samples from mining companies and a collection of polished sections needed for teaching. His plans were embraced by the university and the new course proved an instant success when it was launched in 1965, attracting students from mining companies and government departments all over the world. A decade later, separate master’s degrees in mineral exploration and mining geology were introduced, along with a BSc in mining geology.

A committed teacher, Dr Evans was unimpressed by the books available to his students and so decided to produce his own. Ore Geology and Industrial Minerals: An Introduction (1980) soon became a standard text and went into three editions. He followed it up with an edited collection, Introduction to Mineral Exploration, in 1995. He was an enthusiastic leader of field courses in Europe and a great believer in external input into courses, so he created an advisory panel of experts from industry and research establishments to help streamline the curriculum.

Dr Evans died after a long illness on 11 July and is survived by his wife Jo, a son and a daughter.

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