About Philippa Uwins and the Discovery Team
seems to have lived a life of discovery and unusual encounters since she
was born in a military hospital in the Yemen - the daughter of a captain
in the British Army. When her family moved to Jersey, her interest about
rocks developed at an early age and set the starting point for a career
as a Geologist. Her recent discovery may well rekindle controversy between
biologists and geologists regarding nanofossils and whether or not these
structures are chemical processes or organic ones, but it will not be the
first time she has encountered 'opposing' forces. In 1971, on an 11 month
journey of a lifetime with her father across land to Australia, she
was met with hostility from Turkish villagers and was caught up in a war
between India and Pakistan.
The journey became an ideal opportunity for her to collect rocks she was so passionate about and by the journey's end, the motor caravan was literally brimming over with her 'collection'.
went on to study Geology in Edinburgh and Aberdeen (Scotland) where she
met her husband, and fellow German Geologist, Jochen Kassan. The pair later
moved to Australia where they now continue to share not only a marriage
but a common interest too.
Tony was born in Rockhampton, Queensland in 1965. He was reared on a small farm that also operated as a native fauna orphanage. Having a pet koala, kangaroo, possums, sugarglider, dingo and snakes, he became interested in biology at a very early stage. Later he developed interests in aeronautics and geology. Aeronautical engineering was not available at the undergraduate degree level in Australia when he reached university, so he enrolled in a B. Sc. majoring in microbiology.
completion of the degree Tony pursued a career in art.
With time the lecturing took his interest, and so life for Tony had come full circle. To remain a lecturer he enrolled in a Ph.D. at the University of Queensland. Since then his studies focused on magnetotactic bacteria and the biominerals that they produce.
In 1996 NASA announced the discovery of evidence of past-life on Mars. Among the biomarkers found in the Martian meteorite ALH84001 were magnetite and possibly greigite crystals resembling magnetofossils produced by magnetotactic bacteria. The next year Philippa approached Tony to identify peculiar structures that she had discovered. The peculiar structures were nanobes. Currently he is finishing his thesis and analysing the sample of ALH84001.
Tony's whole life has been and still is one big adventure.
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