David Evans was born in Washington D.C. in 1941. He received his A.B. degree from Oberlin College in 1963. He obtained his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology in 1967, where he worked under the direction of Professor Robert E. Ireland. In that year he joined the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1973 he was promoted to the rank of Full Professor and shortly thereafter returned to Caltech where he remained until 1983. In that year he joined the Faculty at Harvard University and in 1990 he was appointed as the Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Chemistry.