Scott / Rammell, 1977
James is Director of the Australia-Pacific Tsunami Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. He is a geologist by training and an expert on tsunamis, earthquakes and cyclones. He was educated at Cranbrook School (the last of the 11+ and so the last of the males in Scott House, and then he was in Rammell from 1974-1977), completed a BSc (Hons) at University College, Worcester; and then completed an MSc (Geography) and PhD (Geology) at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
He subsequently moved to New Zealand where he lectured at Victoria University of Wellington before working as a senior scientist and manager at the National institute of Water & Atmospheric Research. It was during this time that he discovered widespread geological evidence of ancient tsunamis in the Southern Hemisphere which led to a burgeoning new research field that continues to grow to this day.
He has carried out tsunami research in Canada, USA, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Cook islands, Wallis & Futuna, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Samoa, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and most recently, Japan. He is one of the global leaders in tsunami research and the “father” of tsunami geology in the Southern Hemisphere.
In 2008 he was appointed Director of the newly-formed Australia-Pacific Tsunami Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. His work has been recognised around the World, most recently with a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship at the National University of Singapore and the Erskine Fellowship at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.