Here is some more information about Evan B. Forde


I was born in Miami Florida.


My father was a High School Science teacher. My mom was a grade school teacher.

I received my bachelor's degree in Geology from Columbia University in 1974 and my bachelor's degree in Marine Geology and Geophysics from Columbia University in 1976.  My father and other science teachers I had in Middle and High school helped to motivate and interest me in becoming a scientist.  I was also intrigued every time I watched a television show called, "The undersea world of Jacques Cousteau".


I have worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

which is a part of the Department of Commerce since 1973. I was the first Black Scientist to ever do research dives in a submersible.

I went nearly two miles down in the submersible ALVIN in 1980. However, my first submersible dives on the Nekton Gamma in 1979. I did additional submersible dives on the Johnson Sea Link in 1981.


My specialty early in my career was on the Marine Geology of submarine canyons and I have published a number of manuscripts on that subject.


I was a musician and an athlete in high school and college. I played the trumpet in high school and was a singer in a local band while I was a student at Columbia University. I was also a high school football player and received many scholarship offers to go to college. I decided to take an academic scholarship rather than an athletic scholarship so that I could get the best education possible and not lose my scholarship due to an injury. I did play on Columbia University's football team and was also involved in many other aspects of college life.


I use a computer for most of my research at work (at least 8 hrs. per day). I am also the webmaster for my laboratory and enjoy writing, computer programming and computer graphics.


I am still athletic. I enjoy roller blading, working out, tennis, swimming and golf.


I am also involved in Equal Employment Opportunity and community outreach to school children in South Florida because I feel strongly that it is important. I am also the chairman of NOAA's new Educational Outreach Committee.  I have won several awards for my community involvement.


Here are some questions I had to answer recently for an interview:

>1) What gave you the idea to become an oceanographer?


I've always wanted to be a scientist, but I enjoyed swimming and other water sports and enjoyed watching Jacques Cousteau.


>2) How long did it take you to actually become one?


It took 4 years for my bachelor's degree and 2 years to get my Master's degree.


>3) What feelings did others have towards your decisions to become an



My mom didn't understand why I didn't want to be a Doctor, or lawyer and make more money. Some of my friends thought it was 'cool'.


>4) What types of classes did you have to take through out school?


I took lots of science and math. I wish I had taken more writing classes. Writing is an important part of my work.


>5) When was your first actual dive in a submarine?


My first dive was sometime in 1979, in Nekton Gamma in Norfolk Submarine Canyon. and I don't have the exact date at my finger tips. My second series of dives began on October 10th, 1980. I went down 2,384 meters (nearly 2 miles down) in Wilmington submarine canyon in ALVIN.


>6) What characteristics do you think that a person needs to become a good

>oceanographer or to have a good career with marine biology?


A good scientist must be diligent, persistent, enjoy solving mysteries and patient enough to use the scientific method until they find the truth.


>1) What risks did you take doing your exploring?

There is an ever present danger of mechanical problems with submarines.

In two of the submersible dives I went on, the sub was trapped on the bottom for some time. Once, there was a small underwater landslide on top of ALVIN. On another occasion, the sub got tangled in the rope from a row of deserted lobster traps.


>2) When did you start to explore? 

When I was a child actually. I will include some more information below about my scientific career.


>3) How did you adapt to the extreme environment?


It is cold, damp, cramped and uncomfortable and a little scary in submersibles, but other than that it isn't too bad.  In order to be able to take a 10 or 12 hour dive, you have to be physically flexible (it's cramped) and adjust your eating and sleeping habits (smile).






How does what you do affect  everyday life today?


One of the fundamental problems faced by oceanographers is the large size of the oceans. Oceans cover 70 per cent of the Earth's surface. Satellites allow measurements to be made over vast ocean areas on a daily basis.


In the United States alone, hurricanes have been responsible for at least 17,000 deaths since 1900. Hurricanes also cause  hundreds of millions of dollars in damage annually.  It looks like we are in a  weather cycle where hurricanes may be getting worse and more frequent. Worldwide, 1998 was the worst hurricane season in the last 200 years.  Hurricane Mitch (1998) was responsible for the deaths of over 10,000 people in Central America.   Right now I am  involved in  a study using a new satellite scatterometer (QUIKSCAT) to improve the early detection of weather systems that may develop into hurricanes.  


Read about this satellite at:


How does your work affect the scientific field? 

When I publish papers, it shows the scientists what advancements we are making and how they can use our research to help them do their jobs better.


Read a brief summary of a recent paper at:



>how does the work affect you as an individual?


I have tremendous job satisfaction but research is very demanding in terms of energy and brain power (smile).   I am usually intellectually drained by the time I get home in the evenings.



Some other web references for me are listed below:


Please try:   (under Oceanographer)



I am quoted in a web based stories at: