2005-present Curator of Meteorites, Natural History Museum
2004-2005 PDRA, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, Glasgow University
2002-2004 PDRA, Department of Mineralogy, Natural History Museum
1998-2002 PhD student, PSSRI, The Open University
2003 PhD, Meteoritics, The Open University
1998 BSc (Hons) (2.1) Geology, University of St. Andrews
This X-ray element map shows the different minerals and textures observed in this meteorite. The rounded, red objects are chondrules and the blue-green objects are CAIs (Calcium-Aluminium-rich Inclusions). CAIs are believed to represent some of the oldest objects known and date back to the earliest stages of Solar System formation. © Copyright NHM
My main research interests are early Solar System processes and the formation and history of primitive chondritic meteorites. I also carry out research on the achondrite ureilite meteorites, specifically the interaction between carbon-rich material and the silicate phases.
In addition to my work on meteorites, I also continue to collaborate with former colleagues at The University of Glasgow, using innovative electron and ion-beam techniques to investigate the weathering of terrestrial minerals.
In my role as Curator of Meteorites my main responsibility is to manage and care for the nearly 2000 meteorites represented in NHM meteorite collection. I liaise with scientific and curatorial colleagues around the world to organise loans of material from our collection for scientific study and exhibition. I also represent the Museum in various media and public outreach initiatives regarding meteorites and the scientific study of our Solar System.
The curation facilities at the NASA Johnson Space Center are unrivalled. For us to design a modern facility we meet with colleagues around the world to discuss issues and challenges. © Copyright NHM
I am currently working with both the European and UK Space Agencies planning and preparing for the curation of samples returned to Earth by space missions to Mars and asteroids in the next few decades. These samples are unique and require a high-level of curation to protect them from potential contamination once they arrive on Earth. For Martian samples there is the added issue of compliance with international treaties on Planetary Protection - whilst it is extremely unlikely that any Martian material will pose a hazard to Earth, until proven otherwise any Mars samples returned to Earth will need to be curated in a high bio-containment facility. This is an exciting project in which we can share the Museum's expertise and knowledge from ~300 years of meteorite and extraterrestrial sample curation with colleagues from the space, engineering and bio-technology industries and academia.
Ms Deborah-Jayne Cassey - Assistant Meteorite Curator
Mrs Sue Lewis - Volunteer
Supervisor of a NERC (CASE) funded PhD studentship to Aidan Ross in collaboration with University College London. CASE funding from Mineralogy Department, Natural History Museum. Topic: Constraining the composition of the Hadean earth and moon by studying ancient primitive meteorites like ureilites.
Supervisor of a University of Glasgow PhD studentship to Mahmood Sofe. Topic: The oldest carbonate minerals on Earth: insights into the early history of the Solar System.
A major part of my job as Curator of Meteorites is to tell the fascinating stories of these rocks and how important they are in providing us with evidence of how the Solar System formed and evolved over the last 4.6 billion years. I have given many talks to amateur astronomical and geological societies around the UK and, with colleagues, to schools and university classes. Owing to the fact that meteorites are such an interesting topic I have also carried out a numerous live TV and radio interviews, both to national and international news agencies, the most recent of which was talking about our acquisition of the Tissint Martian meteorite.