David Pyle

Volcanologist, University of Oxford

David Pyle

My first sight of a live volcano was when I was 7 years old, and living in Chile. I remember sitting on a dusty pile of rocks looking up at the snow- capped cone of Villarrica volcano, which had erupted just a few months before. I now realise that I was sitting on a hardened mudflow that had formed when hot lava melted snow during the eruption. From that moment, I was hooked on volcanoes!

My research takes me to active volcanoes all around the world. I have studied volcanoes in the hottest parts of Ethiopia; and climbed so high up others that half of the atmosphere is below me. I have camped next to bubbling pools of lava, hiked across icefilled craters, and waded through freshly fallen drifts of volcanic ash. I am most interested in working out what happened in past eruptions, as this tells us what may happen in the future. There is much more still to learn about volcanoes and how they work, and volcanologists are still a long way from being able to forecast the next eruption.

I love being a scientist because...

I learn something new every day.

The most awesome thing I have done so far is...

Slid down the ice cap of Villarrica volcano.

My heroes are...

My dad, who taught me that life is an adventure.

Advice I would give my 7 year old self...

Do what you enjoy!

At primary school my favourite thing to do was...

Read, and collect rocks.

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