Volcanoes impact our lives in multiple ways, the most striking in recent memory being the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull which disrupted air traffic for several weeks. In the past, powerful Icelandic eruptions such as Laki in 1783 have produced large clouds of sulphur dioxide and acid gases which irritate our lungs and can cause death for infants, the old and the sick; in the UK alone, more than 10,000 people are estimated to have died due to the Laki eruption. Larger eruptions, such as Pinatubo in 1991 affect global climate, and a future European eruption will cause great disruption to the highly integrated supply chains which make modern life work. Understanding how volcanoes work is essential if we want to forecast their activity. In this talk I present the latest volcanological research we are doing in Manchester. There are four main areas, modelling of magma dynamics and volcanic eruptions, high-pressure, high-temperature experiments on magmas, novel measurements of volcanic degassing, and quantifying the global volcanic CO2 output. The combination of models, experiments and observations is a powerful approach, allowing us to deepen our understanding of volcanoes and the threats they pose.