Who am I?

  • Institution: University of Glasgow
  • Role: Lecturer in planetary geoscience

What is your job?

I'm a lecturer in planetary geoscience at the University of Glasgow. I specialise in measuring teeny tiny grains in meteorites at an atomic level to understand how asteroids form and evolve as well as what went into the extraterrestrial delivery service for Earth's oceans. I also co-run the UK Fireball Network of cameras that forms the UK arm of the Global Fireball Observatory to help understand where meteorites come from and help us recover them really quickly.

How did you end up studying meteorites?

In a bit of a round about way. I had always been fascinated by the stars and planets and really wanted to study space but thought the only way to do that was become an astrophysicist… I realised pretty quickly I wasn’t clever enough to do that. I then discovered Geology and thought, ah never mind, Earth Science is brilliant and lets you travel the world see amazing places that very few people visit and literally learn about how the Earth works, rocks are amazing, lets do that. After my Geology degree an opportunity then came up where I ended up being asked: 'Do you want to move to Australia to do a PhD studying meteorites?'. Now I love rocks, rocks are cool, but naturally space rocks are much better than Earth rocks. Possibly the easiest decision I've ever had to make, and the rest is history.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The best thing about this work is that you are always sitting on the brink of the unknown trying to discover things and that’s a real buzz. But my favourite thing is actually sharing that new found knowledge with people. Also the people I get to work with both day to day at glasgow, acorss the UK and internationally are awesome!.

What is your favourite meteorite?

I mean this is a Winchcombe exhibit right? I really really should say Winchcombe... but I'm not going to. The Queen of the space rocks is DOM 08006 all 667 g of this perfect CO3 chondrite was found in Dominion Range Antarctica in 2008. It's the most unaltered chondrite in our collection so every mineral inside it is a near pristine record of the environment around our young Sun at the dawn of our Solar System.

What are your hobbies?

Gardening, dancing Lindy hop, musical theatre and playing guitar.