Prof Jean-François Stéphan, Director of the Earth Sciences and Astronomy Institute (INSU) at CNRS, member of the Assembly of Governors of ICDP, passed away in December last year, after a short but hard fought battle with illness in which he displayed exemplary fortitude and courage. To the end he remained dedicated to enthusiastically fulfilling his duties in respect of the geoscientific community.
Prof Jean-François Stéphan dedicated his working life to tectonics, and more specifically the study of the architecture and mechanisms of the formation of mountain ranges and underwater "recent" (tens of millions of years) and active structures in the context of convergence (subduction and collision). Jean-François Stéphan conducted worldwide research: in the Andes, the subduction trench of Central America, Taiwan and Northern Philippines Chains, the French-Italian Southern Alps, Siberia...
Jean-François Stéphan was very supportive of ICDP, because he saw it as an ideal way of structuring and motivating the continental geoscience drilling community. He was very supportive of conducting coring and drilling activities, and placed this field under his own leadership within INSU. He supported the application for improving the national coring facilities granted by the French Government under the name CLIMCOR (paleoCLIMatic CORing: high resolution and innovations (ClimCOR). Indeed, Jean-François Stéphan was considering CLIMCOR and the coring structure managed by INSU (C2FN) as a potential complementary equivalent of the ICDP operational support group. Finally Jean-François and Michel Diament, the present interim director of INSU, were also in favour of coordinating the different drilling programs like IODP, ICDP and Images, a key issue that was discussed at the 2013 ICDP Science Conference recently held in Potsdam.
We have lost a great scientist, who devoted himself to the Earth Science community at large, from within his lab, his University, at the Ministry of Research and finally at CNRS. Jean-Francois was a warm, passionate, and loyal friend, who knew how, and with whom, to share his passion and vision for research.