Who am I?

What is your job?

I'm James Bryson and I'm the Associate Professor of Mineralogy at the University of Oxford. This means I am interested in what the individual crystals that make up rocks (particularly those that come from space) can tell us about their past. I focus on the magnetism, isotopic composition, and chemical compositions of these single crystals.

How did you end up studying meteorites?

I started studying meteorites because it was the perfect combination of the two areas of science that fascinated me most when I was younger: astrophysics and mineralogy. After my undergraduate in mineral sciences, I chose to do a PhD that involved characterising the magnetic properties of individual crystals found in slowly cooled iron meteorites and using these to decipher the magnetic history of their parent asteroids.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Because we cannot directly access most other planets, asteroids, and moons, there is still so much to discover in planetary sciences! This leads to a really exciting research environment that I thoroughly enjoy, where fascinating breakthroughs are being made all the time.

What is your favourite meteorite?

My favourite meteorite is Tagish Lake. This observed fall is a unique meteorite that has tantalising evidence that it could be a fragment of a comet-like body rather than an asteroid. If true, this sample could be used to illuminate an entire new region of the solar system.

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies include hiking, reading, and overly detailed board games.