Interview with Prof. Peter Lynch
Director of the Meteorology & Climate Centre, UCD
Interviewer’s Note: Professor Peter Lynch (PL) provided responses on and off the record. Please choose answer (A) or (B) as appropriate.
IMS: When did you first become interested in Meteorology?
PL (A): Since earliest memory, I have been fascinated by the majestic spectacle of the skies and the never-ceasing drama of the unfolding weather.
PL (B): I was lounging about the house and me mammy told me to get off me back-side and apply for a cushy job in the Met Service.
IMS: What is your current job title and what does it entail?
PL (A): I am Met Éireann Professor of Meteorology and Director of the UCD Meteorology & Climate Centre. I am responsible for developing the educational and research programmes in weather and climate science. It’s tough but rewarding.
PL (B): I have a cushy secure job in UCD. Were it not for the pesky students, it would be even cushier.
IMS: What research are you currently involved in and can you give us a short explanation of what you are finding?
PL (A): The dynamics of the rock’n’roller, with a view to elucidating wave interactions in the atmosphere. In this context, I have recently discovered that quaternions, mathematical objects devised by the Irish mathematician Hamilton, are very useful.
PL (B): Studying really simple, but fun, things like springs and pendulums with the hope (or pretence) that they are of vital importance for understanding real-world systems like the atmosphere.
IMS: Can you tell us some meteorologists whose work you greatly admire?
PL (A): Lewis Fry Richardson, who worked out how to compute weather changes, and Jule Charney who actually did this (and much more). George Platzmann and Akira Kasahara for their superlative scientific writing.
PL (B): Aristotle, who figured out by pure logic that the flash follows the bang. Who needs observations?
IMS: Who would you like to have at your dream dinner party?
PL (A): Siddhartha Gautama, Leonardo da Vinci, Ludwig von Beethoven (with his hearing aid) and Kurt Gödel.
PL (B): Lady Anorexia Asperger, Sophia Loren, Lady Gaga and Plenty O’Toole.
Oh, did you say “dinner”?
IMS: What book would you recommend for those who have a general interest and want to improve their knowledge of the subject?
PL (A): There is a good book called “The Emergence of Numerical Weather Prediction: Richardson’s Dream”. I cannot recall who wrote it, but you should definitely buy a copy, or perhaps several.
PL (B): “Philosophiae Atmosphericae Principia Mathematica” in seven volumes. If your Greek is rusty, a translation is available: “Weather & Climate for Dummies”.