Monica Grady

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Monica Grady
MMG May 2016.jpg
Born (1958-07-15) 15 July 1958 (age 59)
Nationality British
Education St Aidan's College, Durham University (1979)
Darwin College, Cambridge (1982)
Occupation Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University
Years active Since 1979
Known for Work on meteorites
Television Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (2003)

Monica Mary Grady, CBE (born 15 July 1958 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK),[2] 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[3]

Life and work[edit]

Grady is a practising Catholic, the oldest of eight children. Her youngest sister, Dr Ruth Grady, is a Senior Lecturer in microbiology at the University of Manchester.[4] Another sister, Helen Grady, works at INTO Manchester with the esteemed Spanish Civil War expert, Chrs Hall. Grady's husband, Professor Ian Wright, is also a planetary scientist at the Open University.[5] Ian is Principal Investigator of the Ptolemy instrument on the Philae lander, part of ESA's Rosetta spacecraft. Ian and Monica have one son, Jack Wright, who works in the film industry.[6]

Grady graduated from the University of Durham in 1979, where she was a student at St Aidan's College then went on to complete a PhD on carbon in stony meteorites at Darwin College, Cambridge in 1982. She studied under Professor Colin Pillinger. Grady was formerly based at the Natural History Museum, where she curated the UK's national collection of meteorites. 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.

Grady was appointed a Fellow of the Meteoritical Society in 2000, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 2012 and a Fellow of the Geochemical Society in 2015 (these are honorary appointments, bestowed by the President and Council of each Society, following nomination by peer-scientists). She has been a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society since 1990, and a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland since 1992. From 2012-2013, she was President of the Meteoritical Society. She was awarded the Coke Meda l of the Geological Society of London in 2016, for her work in science communication.

Grady gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in 2003, on the subject "A Voyage in Space and Time".[7] Asteroid (4731) was named Monicagrady in her honour.

In 2010, Grady returned to Durham, spending 3 months at St Mary's College as a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study[8] Grady was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to space sciences.[9]

In 2014, Grady spoke to BBC News about the aims and the significance of the spacecraft Rosetta. Grady said: "The biggest question that we are trying to get an answer to is: where did life on Earth come from?"[10] A video of her highly enthusiastic reaction when Philae successfully landed on the comet was published widely around the internet on many media sources.[11] On 31 July 2015 she appeared on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.[12]

Grady is one of the members of Euro-Cares,[13] an EU-funded Horizon2020 project which has the aim of developing a roadmap for a European Sample Curation Facility, designed to curate precious samples returned from Solar System exploration missions to asteroids, Mars, the Moon and comets.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Publication list[14]
  • "Catalogue of Meteorites”, 2000, Cambridge University Press.
  • "Search for Life", 2001, Natural History Museum.
  • "Astrobiology", 2001, Smithsonian Books.
  • "Atlas of Meteorites" (with G. Pratesi and V. Moggi Cecchi), 2013, Cambridge University Press ISBN 978-0521840354


  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. ^ "Professor Monica Grady". Open University. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Dr Ruth Grady, The University of Manchester". University of Manchester. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Professor Ian Wright, The Open University". Open University. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Jack Wright". Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  7. ^ "The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, Series 2". Channel 4. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Monica Grady, Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University". Durham University. March 10, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  9. ^ "No. 60173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2012. p. 7. 
  10. ^ Shukman, David (5 August 2014). "Rosetta probe set to catch comet after ten year chase". Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  11. ^
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External links[edit]