Peter Smithers is an entomologist in the school of Biological Sciences at the University of Plymouth. He has now retired but retains a position as associate research fellow. He is fascinated by the diversity and beauty of the smaller animals that inhabit the microcosm, exploring the roles that insects and other invertebrates play in maintaining the biosphere and the way that they shape the world in which we live. Amidst the vast carnival of exotic creatures that maintain the delicate checks and balance that keep the natural world stable, it is the spiders that have arrested his attention. He has spent the last twenty years exploring the incredible complexities of spiders’ lives.
Peter has also developed a keen interest in the role that insects may have in feeding a rapidly growing human population. He has organised many event to promote this concept and currently chairs the Royal Entomological Societies special interest group in this field.
Having developed an appreciation of twentieth century painting in his youth he became curious about the links between the sciences and the arts. He has organised conferences and exhibitions on a range of themes that link the visual arts and entomology, plus a brief foray into the world of the performing arts, with a piece of contemporary dance based on insect behaviours. He is also fascinated by the links between the history of both art and science, investigating the co-evolution of these two fields of endeavour.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and is co-editor of the society’s magazine, ‘Antenna’.
At the University of Plymouth he was a member of the Faculty of Science’s outreach team, visiting schools and lecturing to local societies. A role he continues to undertake in and around Bristol where he now lives.