John Graham Ramsay
I was an eager and enthusiastic 1st Year Undergraduate at Leeds University in 1977.
John was Professor of Structural Geology at that time; a subject whose mastery was revered by the 2nd and 3rd Year Undergraduates. Accordingly many of us relative Freshers, cherishing our copies of John’s book (duly signed) stared into the stern mathematical face of the discipline with some trepidation.
Nevertheless, John was an inspirational teacher with the gift of depicting complex mathematics through brush strokes like those of a keen artist. I would be among the first to jostle for a good spot in the packed theatre ahead of each of his lectures.
John’s presentations were always exhilarating, captivating and enormously motivating; always furnished with the most amazing quality photography. Photos of severe landscapes fashioned by the underlying structural geology or of wafer-thin sections of deformed rocks that offered spectacular glimpses of micro-processes such as ‘Crack-Seal’ infilling between the segments of stretched Alpine Belemnites.
I didn’t get to know John as well as I’d want.
However I learned from him that complexity also bears, and is balanced by simplicity. John’s capacity to draw sense and simplicity from astonishing structural complexity was breathtaking.
I for one have been guided through my career by some of the intellectual gifts that you, John Graham Ramsay, bestowed not only on me, but on countless thousands of others.