55 years of Oxford Physics
I came to Oxford as John Houghton's research student in 1966. Later, I took over from him as head of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics for 21 years from 1979 to 2001, and now am Halley Professor Emeritus in Oxford Physics and an Emeritus Fellow at Jesus College. Before returning to the UK I was for ten years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, where I later held a Distinguished Visiting Scientist position. I led projects that sent the first British hardware to another planet (Venus in 1979) and placed the first British equipment on the surface of Mars (by accident, in 1989). In the 1990s we built instruments that addressed the Earth's ozone depletion crisis and others that were sent all over the Solar System as far as Saturn to study planetary weather and climates. I've published 300 refereed scientific papers and 10 books, including two undergraduate texts (‘Elementary Climate Physics' and 'Planetary Atmospheres', both by Oxford University Press) as well as research summaries such as 'The Scientific Exploration of Mars' (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and 'The Scientific Exploration of Venus' (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Most recently, I published an autobiographical history centred on my fifty-plus years in Oxford Physics and at NASA entitled 'Exploring the Planets: A Memoir' (Oxford University Press, 2016).