Interview with Dr. Peter Rona
Why are you interested in your particular area of study?
I am interested in gas hydrates because they are dynamic and can cause massive sea-floor landslides. Knowing about sea-floor landslides off the East Coast of the United States is important, because they can break trans-Atlantic telephone cables and can possibly cause tsunamis or tidal waves.
At what age did you decide you wanted to become a scientist? Was your decision related to any specific event in your life, and if so, what was that event?
I remember sitting in a classroom in elementary school when the teacher gave us 30 minutes to pick a book from a bookcase and to start reading it. I selected a book entitled A Half Mile Down by William Beebe, describing how he made the first deep dive into the ocean in a 2-person spherical metal chamber on a cable called a "bathysphere." The photos in the book and my reading of the text excited me, and hooked me for life into being a scientist who explores the ocean.
Who were your role models? Why?
My role models were the great explorers who went into the unknown on mountains, in deserts and in the ocean, because they discovered important things about the world and themselves.
Who encouraged you in your pursuit of science?
My parents, teachers, and friends with whom I hiked, climbed, camped and collected rocks and minerals as a child.
What is the most fascinating thing you have ever seen in the deep sea?
My discovery of the first hot springs and life forms in the deep Atlantic as a NOAA scientist.
How does you research affect people?
It should benefit their lives and expand their imaginations.
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