David Pyle

David Pyle is a volcanologist, and Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford. His first encounter with volcanoes was at the age of 7, when he visited Villarrica, Chile, shortly after an eruption. David studied geological sciences at the University of Cambridge, and later completed a PhD on the 'older' eruptions of Santorini, Greece. After a short post-doc at the California Institute of Technology, David returned to a lectureship in Cambridge. In 2006, he moved to his current post in Oxford. David tweets at @davidmpyle

William Dampier and the Burning Islands of Melanesia

William Dampier and the Burning Islands of Melanesia

A tweet from Jenni Barclay about a Pirate Scientist gave me an excuse to visit the newly opened reading rooms in the Bodleian’s Weston Library.. William Dampier was a seventeenth century pirate, and later maritime adventurer, whose several books of ‘Voyages and Discoveries’ make for fascinating reading. In 1699, he set sail in HMS Roebuck to try and find Terra Australis, a mythic ...[Read More]

Volcano Top Trumps: the Online Game

After some months of testing and refining, a free-t0-use online version of Volcanoes Top Trumps has been launched by Winning Moves. This should greatly extend the reach of Volcanoes Top Trumps – which is a fun and educational game about volcanoes that has spun off from the NERC – ESRC funded project ‘STREVA‘ – Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas. Why not play t ...[Read More]

There’s (volcanic) dust in the archives

There’s (volcanic) dust in the archives

There’s not much that beats the thrill of discovery.. particularly when it turns up in your own backyard.  This summer, I have been on the hunt for records and reports of the 1902 eruptions of St Vincent, a lush volcanic island in the Eastern Caribbean. There are indeed many reports from this eruption, carefully documented in official records from the time. But, more surprisingly, there are ...[Read More]

Summer Reading – H is for Hawk

Much of my time is consumed with reading, but it is almost always for a purpose: essays, assignments, proposals, drafts of papers, re-drafts of papers, papers for classes, for review..  This almost always means reading fast, with a goal: to measure, assess, hone, distil, critique and rewrite.  Often, it means hacking through tangled and cumbersome layers of scientific prose, to reveal the central  ...[Read More]

Friday Field Photo – St Vincent, 1902

Today’s field photo is by Tempest Anderson, of the ‘Roseau Dry River flowing with Boiling Mud’, a picture taken in the aftermath of the May 1902 eruptions of the Soufrière of St Vincent.  The full published caption explains the origins of this boiling mud – a phenomenon we now call a lahar: ‘This is a small stream in the Wallibu Basin. When the water undermines the ba ...[Read More]

How NOT to write to an editor

Over on the Nature Methods blogs site, there are some interesting posts with advice for authors on how to prepare cover letters, rebuttal letters, appeal letters and the like. Here’s an example of ‘how NOT to write to an editor‘, based on a recent experience of mine. I shall let the author remain anonymous, but my hunch is that this is not an isolated example of this sort of beha ...[Read More]