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Peter Cattermole    

Former Principal Investigator with NASA's Planetary Geology and Physics Program, Specialising on the Study of Volcanoes on Mars and Venus

Geologist Peter Cattermole is now semi-retired but still traveling the world, by both land and sea. Volcanoes have always been his passion so, not surprisingly, there is something of a bias in the destinations he visits. The land trips he leads and the cruise ships upon which he travels as an "expert" are the professional side of his life, but this is supplemented by an occasional trip to France in a 1972 left-hand drive Bedford campervan, and regular visits to a rustic finca in Isla La Gomera, which he and his wife Jack are privileged to own. Walking and scrambling amongst the hills and ravines of this gorgeous island is a joy to both of them. Another pleasure has always been music, and he continues to pass ten fingers over the ivories with varying degrees of success. His taste in music ranges from Bach to Berlioz, Bill Evans to Mahler, Stan Getz to Paul Simon, Oscar Peterson to Bob Dylan and Buxtehude to Rod Stewart. Good food and fine wine also rate pretty highly on his list of indulgencies.

Acknowledging that he has led a charmed life, he has been a draftsman, a forester, a rock climbing instructor, a master at Gordonstoun School and Assistant Curator of a Midlands museum, in addition to working in universities. After retiring from academia, he spent 20 years leading a portfolio of specialist geology and eclipse tours around the world, initially with his own small outfit and latterly for a well known London travel company. He continues to work occasionally with Martin Randall Travel and enjoys every minute of it. Showing people wonderful places and explaining what went into their making has always been both challenging and rewarding. Explaining how the Earth works still occupies much of his time, as he travels with various cruise companies presenting lectures about the Earth and sometimes other parts of the Universe.

Once an academic, always an academic, he still hankers after mountains, volcanoes and wild places, and finds rocks and volcanoes constantly fascinating. Formerly a lecturer in petrology, volcanology and planetary geology at both the University of Sheffield (1974-1990) and University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, (1967-70) he became a Principal Investigator with NASA's Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program, studying the volcanoes of Mars. During this appointment he spent much time at Arizona State University in Phoenix. He delivered the annual Kelvin Lecture in 1996, on the subject "Venus - a new view through radar eyes." He has lectured widely over the past 50 years.

A lifelong interest in observational astronomy was encouraged by Sir Patrick Moore (who lived in the same town when Pete was young); he continues to observe with a 130cm refracting telescope sited at his finca in the Canary Islands. He has written many books and academic papers and has been a regular guest on BBC TV's "Sky at Night." Sir Patrick continues to be one of his oldest friends (in more ways than one!) and Pete would like to acknowledge here how much he owes to this eccentric man. Thus far he has been lucky to attend 12 total solar eclipses, and has seen all but three of them.

Currently his UK base is Sheffield, where he lives with his wife, Jack. He has two beautiful daughters, one living in Sheffield and the other in Spain, plus three lovely step-children, two of whom have provided five step-grandchildren (to date). He admits to having been a very lucky guy.

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