Christopher Evans (computer scientist)

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Christopher Riche Evans (29 May 1931 – 10 October 1979) was a British psychologist, computer scientist, and author.

Christopher Riche Evans
Born29 May 1931
Died (aged 48)
NationalityBritish
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma materUniversity College London, University of Reading
Known forPioneers of Computing recordings (1970s); The Mighty Micro (1979 book and TV series)
Children2
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science, psychology
InstitutionsRoyal Air Force, Duke University, University of Reading, National Physical Laboratory

BiographyEdit

Born in Aberdyfi, Christopher Evans spent his childhood in Wales and was educated at Christ College, Brecon (1941–49). He spent two years in the RAF (1950–52), and worked as a science journalist and writer until 1957, when he began a B.A. course in Psychology at University College, London, graduating with honours in 1960. After a summer fellowship at Duke University in the United States, where he first met his American wife, Nancy Fullmer, he took up a Research Assistant post in the Physics Laboratory, University of Reading, working on eye movements under Professor R. W. Ditchburn. Upon receiving his PhD (the title of his thesis was "Pattern Perception and the Stabilised Retinal Image"), he went to the Division of Computer Science, National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, in 1964, where he remained until his death from cancer in 1979. He had two children, Christopher Samuel Evans and Victoria Evans-Theiler.[citation needed]

WorksEdit

In 1979, Christopher Evans wrote a book about the oncoming microcomputer revolution, The Mighty Micro: The Impact of the Computer Revolution, which included predictions for the future up to the year 2000.[1] This book was also printed in the US as The Micro Millennium (New York: The Viking Press, ISBN 0-670-47400-2). He subsequently scripted and presented for ATV a six-part television series based on this book and broadcast posthumously by ITV between October and December 1979.[2]

His other books include Cults of Unreason, a study of Scientology and other pseudoscience, and Landscapes of the Night: How and Why We Dream.[3]

In the 1970s, Evans undertook a set of interviews with computer pioneers such as Konrad Zuse and Grace Hopper. These were released through the Science Museum, London, as Pioneers of Computing, a set of cassette tapes.

Christopher Evans also edited two anthologies of psychological science fiction/horror stories, Mind at Bay and Mind in Chains, a collection of science writings, Cybernetics: Key Papers, a reference book Psychology: A Dictionary of Mind, Brain and Behaviour, and was a contributing editor to the science magazine Omni. A keen pilot, he also edited a yearly pilot's diary of rural airfields in Great Britain.[citation needed]

Evans had a significant friendship and collaboration with the writer J. G. Ballard. Together around 1968 they developed ideas for a play about a car crash, offered to the Institute of Contemporary Arts but not produced.[4] Later came an exhibition of crashed cars at The New Arts Lab in London in 1970, and ultimately Ballard's novel Crash, published in 1973. Evans' charismatic appearance as a "hoodlum scientist" (in Ballard's description[5]) was an inspiration for the character of Dr. Robert Vaughan in Crash. Evans also appears in Ballard's fictionalised life story The Kindness of Women as the psychologist Dr. Richard Sutherland. (Ballard recounts his friendship with Evans in his autobiography Miracles of Life.)

During the 1970s, Evans was the scientific advisor to the ITV TV series, The Tomorrow People.[6]

Christopher Evans died of cancer in 1979, at the age of 48, shortly after The Mighty Micro had been published in hardcover[7] and before the broadcast of the TV programmes.[8]

Selected worksEdit

Cults of Unreason
The Mighty Micro
As editor

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Mars Hill Review.
  2. ^ IEEE Book Review.
  3. ^ Coleman, Daniel (10 July 1984). "Do dreams really contain important secret meaning?". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  4. ^ Holliday, Mike (28 March 2017). "Taking the Top Off His Skull: The Genesis of J.G. Ballard's Crash". Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  5. ^ Ballard, J. G. (2008). Miracles of Life. London: Fourth Estate.
  6. ^ Screen Online
  7. ^ Evans 1980, foreword by Robin Webster
  8. ^ Programme director's postscript to the first episode of The Mighty Micro, October 1979.

External linksEdit