The Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL / Birkbeck

Prof Peter Sammonds

Prof Peter Sammonds

Professor of Geophysics and Climate Risks

Inst for Risk & Disaster Reduction

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2001

Research summary

I work at the interface of natural and social sciences. My research and knowledge exchange is on natural hazard risks, disasters and recovery. I have worked on earthquake mechanics, volcanoes and ice physics in the Arctic. I work on research council, British Academy and Royal Society-funded projects on Increasing Resilience to Environmental Hazards in Border Conflict Zones and Resilience Futures for the Rohingya Refugees. I have advised the UK research councils on the increasing resilience to natural hazards programme; been a member of EEFIT Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation teams, contributing to inter-disciplinary reports on disaster, taken up widely by government for policy advice; and been a Commissioner on the UCL–Lancet Commission on Migration and Health, 2017–18, whose report has been influential. I am currently the Gender and Intersectionality Ambassador for the UKRI network+ GRRIPP project led by the IRDR Centre for Gender and Disaster.

Teaching summary

BSc Module lead, IRDR0023 Practice and Analysis of Humanitarian Action

BSc Module lead, IRDR0020 Climate and Natural Hazard Risks

MSc IRDR005, Seminars and Southwest England field course

I was:

Founding Lead, BSc Global Humanitarian Studies

Founding Director, MSc Risk and Disaster Science

Founding Director, BSc/MSci Geophysics

Founding Director, BSc/MSci Earth Sciences

I established and taught:

GEOL GH07/GG09/M002 Earthquake Seismology and Earthquake Hazard (MSc/MSci)

GEOL 3030 Field Methods in Active Tectonics (3rd yr UG)

GEOL C450 Glaciology & Environment, 3rd year course

GELO B252 Geodynamics (2nd yr geophysics course)

GEOL B254 Earth Physics (2nd yr geophysics course)

3rd year Abruzzo and Vesuvius geophysics field course

3rd year Glaciology and Environment field course

I have taught:

Geological field work (1st year), Marche, Italy


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1988
University of Bristol
First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 1981


Director, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction and Head of Department, 2010 to 2022

Professor of Geophysics, UCL, 2001 to present

Gender and Intersectionality Ambassador for the UKRI network+ GRRIPP, 2020-23 

NERC-ESRC Strategic Advisor, Increasing Resilience programme, 2010 to 2016

Deputy Head of Department, Earth Sciences, UCL, 2006 to 2010

Professor, Centre for Earthquake Prediction Research, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, 1999.

Royal Society University Research Fellow, Dept. of Earth Sciences, UCL, 1992 to 2001.