Prof David G Evans CSci CChem FRSC
David Evans joined RLS at the start of the 1970s. He was eldest of three children of the Evans family of Winslow, the others were Phillip and Jennifer, both of whom have exciting careers in physics and medicine ( in Jenny’s case combatting malaria in Africa).
David showed an immediate flair for all things chemical and he wrote an article for the school magazine on Alchemy whilst in the 1st form. It was David’s drive and initiative that led to the formation of a RLS Chemical Society that met to enjoy spectacular lecture demonstrations and to undertake fun chemistry, such as the phenomenon of chemiluminescence, particularly based on the properties of luminol.
After an outstanding time at RLS, David Evans studied chemistry at Jesus College, Oxford where he gained an Exhibition and became, as I recall ,the Chairman of the Alembic Society. He remained at Oxford to undertake research into platinum based complexes. David’s yen had always been in inorganic chemistry. That was probably encouraged by his schoolteacher at RLS who never enjoyed organic chemistry as much as the wide remit of inorganic study or the rigour of physical chemistry. After postdoctoral work at Bristol University David was appointed to a lectureship at Exeter University in 1985. Sadly, of course the chemiustry department at Exeter University has been axed. Several visits to Chinese university chemistry departments in the early 1990s convinced him of China’s potential for development in this area and he moved to Beijing University of Chemical Technology in 1996, where he is currently a member of the State Key Laboratory of Chemical Resource Engineering. His research interests focus on layered inorganic materials, principally layered double hydroxides, and applications of the resulting materials.
He was awarded a ‘Friendship Prize’ by the State Council of the PRC in 2001 and an ‘International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award of the PRC’ in 2005. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
David still gives fascinating demonstration lectures on Chemistry across China. I know that he’s done some in Shanghai. I believe that David is comfortable in his department in Beijing because it has the capacity to blur boundaries between engineering and chemistry. The pure principles established on David’s bench can be exploited almost immediately. There are, for instance, pilot-plants which can scale-up production of new materials so they may be applied in real situations.
David’s route may be one that other old Latins wish to adopt. He is the Royal Chemistry Society’s Eastern representative and I’m sure that he’ll want to help suitable Latins to find out more about opportunities in the world’s most buoyant economy.