Monica Grady

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Monica Grady
Born (1958-07-15) 15 July 1958 (age 57)
Nationality British
Education University of Durham (1979)
Darwin College, Cambridge (1982)[1]
Occupation Professor of Planetary and Space Science at the Open University[2]
Years active Since 1979
Known for Work on meteorites
Television Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (2003)
from the BBC programme The Life Scientific, 16 October 2012.[3]

Monica Mary Grady, CBE (born 15 July 1958),[4] 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.[1][2]

Life and work[edit]

Grady is the oldest of eight children. Her sister, Dr Ruth Grady, is a Senior Lecturer in microbiology at the University of Manchester.[5] Grady's husband, Ian Wright is also a meteoriticist.[1]

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 PhD on carbon in stony meteorites at Darwin College, Cambridge in 1982. She studied under Professor Colin Pillinger. 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.

Grady 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 a crater, when in fact the mission was already lost.[6] Grady also made an appearance in the 1995 Christmas Lectures, when in the final lecture of that series she presented a Martian meteorite to Dr James Jackson, who used it for a demonstration. Asteroid (4731) was named Monicagrady in her honour.[1]

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 collaborated with British artist Jo Bradford. During 2003–2004, Grady and Bradford worked on the "Constructing Space" sci-art project. Bradford built a temporary photographic darkroom in the basement of the Natural History Museum, London and created several large scale photogram artworks, using meteorites and interstellar dust from the museum's collection to construct her work.[7]

Grady was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to space sciences.[8]

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?"[9] A video of her highly enthusiastic reaction when Philae successfully landed on the comet was published widely around the internet on many media sources.[10]

Grady is a practising Catholic and has one child. In 2015 she appeared on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.[11]

See also[edit]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • "Catalogue of Meteorites”, 2000, Cambridge University Press.
  • "Search for Life", 2001, Natural History Museum.
  • "Astrobiology", 2001, Smithsonian Books.
  • Grady, Monica (2013). Atlas of Meteorites. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521840354. 


  1. ^ a b c d "Monica Grady, Institute of Advanced Studies, Durham University". Durham University. March 10, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Professor Monica Grady". Open University. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Monica Grady". The Life Scientific. 16 October 2012. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "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) 
  5. ^ "Dr Ruth Grady, The University of Manchester". University of Manchester. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ "The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, Series 2". Channel 4. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Jo Bradford: Constructing Space 2003-2010". Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60173. p. 7. 16 June 2012.
  9. ^ Shukman, David (5 August 2014). "Rosetta probe set to catch comet after ten year chase". Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links[edit]