Christopher Peterson is one of the founders and principal contributors to the field of positive psychology. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Peterson initially studied aeronautical engineering at UIUC, but an introductory psychology class, taken during his sophomore year because it was reported to be an "easy" class, proved to be fascinating. Peterson switched his major to psychology and graduated with a BS degree in 1972. Peterson went to graduate school at the University of Colorado in Boulder where he earned his Ph.D. in 1976 with emphases in social psychology, personality psychology, and animal learning. His dissertation research entailed learned helplessness in people, at that time a brand new topic. Peterson's academic journey has taken him from a teaching position at Kirkland College in New York, to the University of Pennsylvania in a post-doctoral re-specialization in clinical psychology, to Virginia Tech, where he extended his research on learned helplessness in people to address physical health, and he was the first to show that optimism longitudinally predicted good health and long life (Peterson & Bossie, 1991). Peterson went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1986 and he is currently a professor of psychology and the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor. Peterson is the former director of the clinical psychology program and an award winning teacher. He is among the world's 100 most frequently-cited psychologists.