Mike Rhodes has been interested in rocks, mountains, and the earth aslong as he can remember. Educated initially in England, he began his professional career mapping and studying granites in the outback of the Northern Territory of Australia. Graduate studies followed at the Australian National University, where he used skills acquired in geochemistry and x-ray fluorescence analysis to attack the mysteries of the origin of granites. On coming to the United States, he established an x-ray fluorescence laboratory at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston to analyze the returned lunar samples. As a Principal Investigator in the Apollo Lunar Program, his research focused on the study of lunar samples, particularly the volcanic rocks flooding the lunar mare basins. Recognizing that the techniques being used so effectively to study lunar rocks could be applied beneficially closer to home, he began a study of ocean floor basalts, including lavas dredged from the oceans’ spreading ridges and samples recovered from the oceanic crust by the Deep Sea Drilling Project. This research was continued after coming to this University in 1978 as a Five-College Professor in Geochemistry. Being a confirmed Baconian scientist he expanded his work to include the study of active volcanoes. He attempts to relate lava compositions and mineralogy to the historical record of eruption rates and volumes in order to understand quantitatively how a volcano works. Current research includes the study of Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanoes in Hawaii, Mount Etna in Sicily, and basalts erupted along the Juan de Fuca ridge in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Rhodes also runs the University’s x-ray Analytical Facility, one of the leading x-ray laboratories in the country, and a regional center for geochemical research, used by researchers from across the country as well as by faculty and students at this University and the Five Colleges.
Pete Dawson served in the United States Air Force from 1975-1979 attaining the rank of Sergeant. His speciality was aircraft maintenance, working on KC-135A & Q, RC-135, and EC- 135H aircraft. He attended Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas and Technical training at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois. His first duty station was just outside Madrid, Spain at Torrejon Air Base for approximately 7 months. He then transfered, after a mission change at Torrejon, to RAF Mildenhall in the U.K. for 3 years, from which he had several temporary duty assignments to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.
After separation from the Air Force he worked as the Senior Park Ranger for the Township of Wayne, N.J. from 1979-1982. In 1980 he attended a 2 year course in Electronic Engineering Technology at Radio Electronics and Television Schools in New Jersey. After graduating From R.E.T.S. in 1982 Pete worked for Siemens Analytical X-Ray Instruments as a Service Representative until 1988, installing, maintaining and repairing both XRF & XRD equipment as well as high-voltage generators. He started here at the R. B. Gilmore X-ray Analytical Facility in 1988 as the XRF Technician. Pete runs the day to day operations of the lab, training its users in sample preparation and instrument operation, repairing/maintaining the X-Ray instruments and supporting equipment.
Pete’s outside interests are: Historical Miniatures (for which he has received many National and International awards), Scale Models of military and civilian subjects for which he has received many National awards (he has been constructing and painting scale models/miniatures for over 30 years), Swiss Railways, Military History, Science Fiction books and films, cooking (he is well know for his Gingerbread Houses, which are made for the Department of Geosciences Holiday Parties). He is also the founder of the Annual Celebration of the Sacking of Lindisfarne (celebrated each June 12th).