Michael John (Mike) O'Hara was born in Sydney, Australia, but came to the UK when he was one year old. He received his BSc and PhD degrees from Cambridge University. He was appointed assistant lecturer at the Grant Institute of Geology at Edinburgh University in 1958, where he rose to a personal chair in 1970. He moved to the University College of Wales Aberystwyth in 1978 as Head of Department and was appointed Distinguished Research Professor at Cardiff University in 1993. Mike O'Hara was one of the leading igneous petrologists of his generation, a pioneering mountaineer and eminent science administrator. He made fundamental contributions to a wide range of topics in igneous petrology, including identifying rocks from the Earth's deep mantle, experimental petrology, the primary magma problem and mathematical modelling of igneous rock formation. Mike O'Hara's name is legendary in climbing circles because he made the first ascents of 39 of the finest rock climbs in the UK. As a national science administrator he was mainly responsible for the present profile of Earth science teaching and research in UK universities.
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Published by the Royal Society