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Clive Oppenheimer BA PhD

Clive Oppenheimer BA PhD

Professor of Volcanology



  • since 1994 University Teaching Officer, University of Cambridge
  • 2010-11 "Le Studium" Research Associate, Institut des Sciences de la Terre d'Orléans
  • 2007-08 Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Fellow, New Mexico Tech.
  • 1993-94 Earth Observation Fellow (NERC), University of Cambridge
  • 1991-93 Research Assistant & Visiting Research Fellow, Open University & NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • 1987 Seismologist, Geophysics Division, DSIR, Wellington, NZ


  • BA (Cantab) Natural Sciences
  • PhD (Open University) Volcanology



Clive is a geoscientist and filmmaker. His primary research concerns magmatic and volcanic processes; volcanic hazards and volcano monitoring; and the long-range climatic and societal impacts of eruptions. He is also interested in aspects of geoarchaeology, cultural heritage and history of science.

Supervision of graduate students

I welcome enquiries from prospective graduate students but do, please, take a look at the PhD topics on offer through the C-CLEAR NERC Doctoral Training Partnership.


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Public engagement


  • 2020 Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds, Apple tv+ (with Werner Herzog)
  • 2016 Into the Inferno, Netflix (with Werner Herzog)
  • 2008 Precise and Tolerant (with Armin Linke)

Selected speaking engagements

  • 2020 "Wine & Science lecture", Natural History Museum of Denmark
  • 2019 "Rhetoric & Knowledge" lecture, University of Tübingen
  • 2019 "Science & Cinema", Copenhagen (CPH:DOX)
  • 2019 Futures Congress, Santiago and Temuco, Chile
  • 2018 NSF Documentary Filmmakers Retreat, Woods Hole
  • 2018 Royal Museums Greenwich, Literature festival
  • 2013 British Museum, Our explosive past: How humans survived catastrophe
  • 2013 American Museum of Natural History, New York
  • 2011 Telegraph Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye
  • 2010 Royal Geographical Society, Monday evening lecture
  • 2007 Geological Society of London, bicentennial lecture

Selected broadcasting

  • 2018 The Life Scientific, BBC Radio 4
  • 2018 The Infinite Monkey Cage, BBC Radio 4
  • 2017 The Museum of Curiosity, BBC Radio 4
  • 2016 Midweek, BBC Radio 4
  • 2016 In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, '1816, the Year without a Summer'
  • 2015 The Erebus Enigma, Red Bull Media House (Antarctica)
  • 2013 Countdown to a Catastrophe, ZDF (Antarctica)
  • 2013 Sleepless Planet Earth, Korean Broadcasting System (New Zealand)
  • 2012 Volcano Live, BBC (Antarctica)
  • 2012 The Forum, BBC World Service
  • 2009 How science works – Journey to Etna, Teachers' TV (Mt. Etna)
  • 2009 Raging Planet – Volcano, Discovery Channel (Mt. Etna, Stromboli & Kawah Ijen)
  • 2008 Earth – the Power of the Planet, BBC (Erta 'Ale, Ethiopia)
  • 2007 Encounters at the End of the Word, Werner Herzog (Antarctica)
  • 2001 Lava Lake, National Geographic (Ethiopia)


  • Founding member and co-deputy director of the Mt. Paektu Research Centre
  • Member of the International Jury at the BIOGRAFILM festival, Bologna, 2017
  • Discoverer of 'lost' campsites from the 'Terra Nova' Antarctic expedition on Mt. Erebus. Now catalogued as Historic Sites and Monuments (#89 and #90, under the Antarctic Treaty System).