Peter was a student at the universities of Edinburgh, Liverpool and Oxford. He began his career in 1974 as a lecturer in statistics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and was promoted to Reader in 1983. A sabbatical at the Swedish Royal College of Forestry gave him his first exposure to real scientific data and problems, prompting a move to CSIRO, Australia. After five years with CSIRO, where he was Senior, then Principal, then Chief Research Scientist and Chief of the Division of Mathematics and Statistics, he returned to the UK in 1988, to chair at Lancaster University.
Since 2011 Peter has held 0.5FTE appointments at Lancaster and Liverpool, together with honorary appointments at Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Yale.
Away from work, Peter enjoys music, playing folk-blues guitar and tenor recorder, and listening to jazz. His running days are behind him, but he can just about hold his own in mixed-doubles badminton with his family. His boyhoood hero was Stirling Moss, and he retains an enthusiasm for classic cars, not least his restored Mk1 Mini and 1988 Porsche 924S.
His favourite authors are George Orwell, Primo Levi and Nigel Slater.