Professor Roger Searle – Emeritus Professor of Geophysics


Professor Roger Searle – Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, Durham University

AKA – Mr Mid-Oceanic Ridges Himself

Roger grew up on a small farm in a village in what is now Cambridgeshire. Roger attended the local Huntingdon grammar school that Roger says gave him skills in life-long learning – that said Roger is not an advocate for the grammar school system. Roger studies Maths, Physics and Chemistry ‘A’ Levels but disappointed to have to drop English, French and Geography. Though he has managed to maintain his interests in wider topics throughout his career.

He studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge intending to specialise in physics but feel in love with the geology aspect of the course. Roger was persuaded by one of his professors not to swap to geology but instead to specialise in geophysics. Earth science views were extremely different 50 years ago. In 1963 Roger had an exam question to discuss the existence of continental drift!

After his degree Roger studied for his PhD at Newcastle University – Gravity in the East African Rift Valley.

Roger met his wife in Newcastle and as newly married couple they lived for over 3 years in the beautiful country of Ethiopia. There, Roger met some oceanographers en route to join their ship in the Red Sea, Roger joined them for their expedition and was extremely sea sick. (Despite this fact Roger has been on over 35 oceanic expeditions in his career – and has largely got of the seasickness)

Roger attended the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics Conference in 1972. He was roomed (by mistake) with Bob Whitmarsh, this led to a lifelong friendship and collegiate collaboration. Through Bob, Roger found out about a post at the National Institute of Oceanography (now NOC – National Oceanography Centre).

After working for NOC Roger accepted the post as Professor at Durham University in1989.

Roger says he has had an absolutely fabulous career, he clearly loves his subject. He is currently a consultant for NOC. Roger is keen to engage others and promote a love of Earth Sciences to a wider audience.

Advice to teenagers:

Study: Maths, Physics, Chemistry, sciences ‘A’ Levels but also have another string – a language, English, Art.


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