I studied Geography at the Universities of Oxford (BA Hons, 1980-1983) and Aberdeen (PhD, 1984-1987) before coming to Keele as a lecturer in 1987. I have won Keele’s Individual and Team Awards for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, and have been made a National Teaching Fellow by the Higher Education Academy.

Research and scholarship

I am a Geographer with a particular interest in Glaciology and Geomorphology, and since 1984 I have combined field research in areas such as Greenland and Iceland with experimental work in the low-temperature laboratory. My work focuses on how glaciers entrain debris into their basal layers and how that “basal ice” affects glacier behaviour and glacial landforms. The work has received funding from The Royal Society, The Leverhulme Trust and the Natural Environment Research Council, and has been published in major international journals including Nature, Quaternary Science Reviews, The Journal of Glaciology and Geology

Peter Knight in the field I have written textbooks for both undergraduate and A-level students, contributed chapters to several Earth Science encyclopaedias, and edited a major research volume called “Glacier Science and Environmental Change”. As a Geographer I am particularly interested in evidence that can be drawn from the spatial distributions of phenomena to help us understand the world around us, and in the complex links that bind together different aspects of our physical environment.

I am also interested in relationships between the physical environment and cultural media such as film, music and literature, and in exploring the boundaries between art and science in Geography.


Level 4

  • ESC-10039 Fundamentals of Physical Geography (Module Leader)
  • ESC-10041 People and the Environment (Module Leader)
  • ESC-10048 The Earth System
  • ESC-10094 Academic, Fieldwork and Professional Skills

Level 5

  • ESC-20110 Earth’s Changing Landscapes
  • ESC-20036 Palaeoclimatology and Quaternary Studies

Level 6

  • ESC-30006 Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology (Module Leader)
  • GEG-30006 Geography Double Dissertation
  • GEG-30008 Geography Single Dissertation
  • GEG-30014 Inspirational Landscapes (Module Leader)

Level 7

  • ESC-40017 MGeoscience: Glaciers and Glacial Geomorphology (Module Leader)


Key publications:

  • Cook S, Swift D, Kirkbride M, Knight PG, Waller R. 2020. The empirical basis for modelling glacial erosion rates. Nature Communications.
  • Knight PG. 2019. Glacier Nature and Culture. Reaktion Books.
  • Parsons T and Knight PG. 2015. How to do your dissertation in Geography and related disciplines (3rd ed). Routledge.
  • Knight PG. 2011. Glaciology. Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers. Singh P and Haritashya UK (Eds.). Springer Verlag.
  • Knight PG. 2009. Glacier Science and Environmental Change. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Knight PG. 1999. Glaciers. Routledge.

School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
William Smith Building
Keele University