Ever since the beginning of geology teaching at the University of Bristol, there have been many wonderful characters associated with the Department. Here we focus on graduates from the department. Of course, thousands of students have graduated with a variety of undergraduate, Masters’ and doctoral degrees, and we can only include a few who made important contributions of one kind or another.

Our choice of ‘characters’ reflects the fact that, until recently, most people associated with the Department were white males. We are extremely grateful to Dr Liz Loeffler, former Curator of the Geological collections, for her suggestions for additions of women and overseas people. Liz also provided text and archival materials from her work in understanding our history.

So, we offer not just professors with extensive whiskers, but also enthusiastic young researchers from Turkey and China who came to Bristol specifically to work with the coral expert Stanley Smith.