ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst studying a volcanic eruption of Mount Etna, Italy in 2001.
Alexander’s interest in the environment around him and exploration of the unknown led him to choose an academic career in geophysics and volcanology. This relatively new scientific discipline offered the potential to explore extreme places, while the research has immediate benefits for people living near volcanoes.
Multiple field-trips to study volcanoes up close in Antarctica, Guatemala, Italy, Ethiopia and Indonesia followed for Alexander as he continued his studies at universities in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Wellington, New Zealand. Alexander’s Master’s degree and subsequent doctorate saw him developing new instruments to study and help predict volcanic eruptions.