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Professor takes on Everest challenge

Travelling to Mount Everest Base Camp is physically challenging and fitness is paramount. At high altitudes, oxygen levels drop and people find breathing more difficult.

Not the ideal setting for asthmatics then, but sufferer honorary graduate Professor Richard Casten didn’t let that get in the way of his trip to Tibet last year.

Richard describes himself as a serious asthmatic and his 17,300ft adventure was a real worry for the medical team back at Yale University, where Richard is the D. Allan Bromley Distinguished Professor for Physics. He regularly texted the results of the oxygen levels in his blood to one of the doctors who responded with helpful advice such as: “Oh my God, be careful.”

You can read more about Richard’s amazing trip and how he coped with the challenges in Yale University’s own magazine.

Richard received his honorary doctorate from the University of Surrey five years ago for his work in the field of nuclear physics. He has been a major figure in international nuclear structure physics research for 40 years and has acted as mentor and research director to a series of University of Surrey MPhys and PhD students in nuclear physics.

Richard’s scientific achievements include the invention of the symmetry or ‘Casten’ triangle to describe nuclear properties in terms of algebraic symmetries and the proton-neutron valence scheme to describing nuclear properties. His textbook, Nuclear Structure from a Simple Perspective, remains a seminal work in the field.

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