Blue Skies Biology

Rachel Brazil reviews Ingenious and Fearless Companions in The Biologist

“Oliver de Peyer imagines himself one day presenting his work at The Linnean Society in London, the world’s oldest active biological society. “To become a Fellow would be the apotheosis of my journey as a scientist,” says de Peyer, “and a wonderful throwback to an earlier age where anybody could be a scientist, even if they were an amateur naturalist.”

The project he hopes to one day present, like the work of earlier ‘gentleman scientists’, has been carried out purely for curiosity, with little institutional support. De Peyer is a molecular biologist and laboratory robotics specialist at the Francis Crick Institute, but his passion is astrobiology. Since 2008, he has been part of a team creating a ‘high altitude bioprospector’ (HAB) to detect microbes in the upper atmosphere.

De Peyer interned at the California NASA lab of astrobiologist Lynn Rothschild in 1999, but with funding hard to find, he moved on…Read full article

Petri dish with microbes (white spots)

Petri dish with microbes (white spots)