Monica Grady

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Monica Grady
Born (1958-07-15) 15 July 1958 (age 56)
Nationality British
Education University of Durham (1979)
Darwin College, Cambridge (1982)
Occupation Professor of Planetary and Space Science at the Open University
Years active 1979-
Known for Work on meteorites
Television Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (2003)
from the BBC programme The Life Scientific, 16 October 2012.[1]

Monica Mary Grady (born 15 July 1958),[2] CBE is a leading British space scientist, primarily known for her work on meteorites. She is currently Professor of Planetary and Space Science at the Open University.

Grady was formerly based at the Natural History Museum, where she curated the UK's national collection of meteorites. She graduated from the University of Durham in 1979, then went on to complete a Ph.D. on carbon in stony meteorites at Darwin College, Cambridge in 1982. Since then, she has built up an international reputation in meteoritics, publishing many papers on the carbon and nitrogen isotope geochemistry of primitive meteorites, on Martian meteorites, and on interstellar components of meteorites. She gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in 2003, on the subject "A Voyage in Space and Time", which coincided with the attempted landing of Beagle 2. During the lectures she conjectured without evidence that Beagle 2 was stuck in crater, when in fact the mission was already lost.[3] Monica also made a brief appearance in the 1995 Christmas Lectures, when in the final lecture of that series she briefly presented a Martian meteorite to Dr James Jackson, who used it for a demonstration. Asteroid (4731) was named Monicagrady in her honour.

Following her televised Royal Institution Christmas Lecture in 2003, and whilst still Head of the Meteorites and Cosmic Mineralogy Division in the Department of Mineralogy at the Natural History Museum and Honorary Professor of Meteoritics at University College London, Grady entered into a series of conversations with Contemporary British Artist Jo Bradford. From 2003 - 2004, Grady collaborated with Bradford in the "Constructing Space" sci-art project. Grady's role was as the 'scientist in conversation' throughout the project. Taking inspiration and insight from the daily discussions, Bradford worked with Grady at the Natural History Museum. Bradford built a temporary photographic darkroom in the basement of the Natural History Museum, London and created several large scale photogram artworks there, using meteorites and interstellar dust from the museum's extensive collection in the making of the work. One original artwork "Saturn's Rings" was presented to Grady in thanks.

Grady was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to space sciences.[4]

In 2014 Grady was interviewed by the BBC over her involvement with the spacecraft Rosetta.[5]

Grady is the oldest of eight children; her youngest sister, Dr Ruth Grady, is a Senior Lecturer in microbiology at the University of Manchester. Grady's husband, Ian Wright is also a meteoriticist.

See also[edit]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • "Catalogue of Meteorites”, 2000, Cambridge University Press.
  • "Search for Life", 2001, Natural History Museum.
  • "Astrobiology", 2001, Smithsonian Books.


  1. ^ "Monica Grady". The Life Scientific. 16 October 2012. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Grady, M. M. (Monica M.)". Library of Congress. Retrieved 6 August 2014. "CIP t.p. (Monica M. Grady) pub. info. (Monica Mary Grady; b. July 15, 1958)" 
  3. ^
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60173. p. 7. 16 June 2012.
  5. ^ Shukman, David (5 August 2014). "Rosetta probe set to catch comet after ten year chase". Retrieved 6 August 2014. 

External links[edit]