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Meet Your Professor: Christopher Hamilton from the College of Science

Associate professor Christopher Hamilton with volcano

Where did you grow up, and where do you call home today?

I once visited a fortune teller who said that I have three homes. I am certain that one of them is Nova Scotia (where I grew up from the age of eight to twenty-two), and another is Iceland, which I have visited annually for the past eighteen years. Perhaps my third home is Tucson, but time will tell.

What's the very best thing about your job at the university?

The best part of academia is the ability to be creative. There is a lot of flexibility in designing and completing one's research program. As a Research 1 (R1) university, Arizona values the creative process and its faculty and students' success in pursuing cutting-edge research.

See Professor Hamilton using drones to study erupting volcanoes in Iceland.

What's your favorite thing to do when you are not working?

My favorite sport is kendo, the art of Japanese fencing, which I have been practicing for the past thirty years. I also enjoy creative writing and am working on two novels. 

What's the hardest or scariest thing you've ever done?

I am terrified of heights but have gone skydiving a few times. I am also nervous underwater but like to scuba dive and have descended to over 40 m (over 120 feet), which was rather terrifying. These sorts of things are scary, but the most frightening thing is to try something new—no matter what it is—to go abroad or develop a new skill. It does not matter what it is, but trying something new is always scary, but challenging one's comfort zone, doing something different, is what makes life worthwhile.  

What advice would you give a new college student?

Be happy. Creativity depends on happiness. Enjoying the process of learning and research is essential to develop original ideas and insights. Set realistic milestones and achieve them but also make time to develop other passions and connect with family. Academia is a marathon, not a sprint, and life is too short not to enjoy at every step.


Ready to learn with amazing professors like Dr. Hamilton? Apply to the University of Arizona today.

Visit 60 Minutes Overtime to learn more about his groundbreaking research and plans to explore Mars.


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