A family move to Melbourne resulted in Peter studying Physics and earning an M.Sc. by helping to construct the university’s cyclotron. But preference for life in the open paved the way to a McGill University Ph.D. for Arctic sea-ice research in Canada.
In 1970 Peter was offered Australia’s first Chair of Meteorology by Flinders University. The Flinders Institute for Atmospheric and Marine Sciences, which he founded and led for 25 years, conducted research into regional climates, water resources, tidal studies and icebergs. From 1977 to 1984 he was also Chairman of SA’s Country Fire Services. Co-development of the scientific use of aircraft led to the award of a Max Planck Research Prize in 1991 by the German Government as well as South Australia’s first major national research facility funded by the Commonwealth in 1995.
His resignation in 1999 ended 40 years of academic life, which included professorships in Alaska, Germany, and Australia. Subsequently he joined the Advisory Boards of the Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Antarctic Division.