In June 2015, Earth and Planetary Surface Processes Group PhD Candidate Ankit Verma was selected along with ten other PhD students from Universities around Ireland to attend a Masterclass at the Royal Irish Academy. The Masterclass was with Prof. Monica Grady, CBE, a leading British space scientist, primarily known for her work on Meteorites.
Professor Grady is Currently Director of Cosmochemistry Research Group at the Open University. She is also part of science team of the Ptolemy instrument onboard the Philae Lander accompanying the Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. She has been featured and hosted many TV and radio shows. Asteroid (4731) was named Monicagrady in her honour. Professor Grady’s research interests are in the fields of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope geochemistry of primitive meteorites and of martian meteorites, interstellar components in meteorites, micrometeorites, and also in astrobiology and the possibilities of life elsewhere in the cosmos.
The masterclass began with 20 minute introduction from Professor Grady speaking about her research area, career and about the challenges faced in the field of Planetary Sciences. Prof. Grady shared her experience of working in Laboratory and how she maintained a balance between her personal life and professional work. She explained her role and work with Ptolemy instrument (it measures stable isotope ratios of key volatiles on the comet’s nucleus) onboard Philae. She shared many facts about Rosetta mission and comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. She bought three kind of meteorites sample with her to show us. She explained how studying meteorites helps us to understand the evolution of the Earth. She calls meteorites a “poor man’s probe”.
This followed by 40 minute Q&A session with the all participants. The main question raised were related to Rosetta mission and Woman in Science. The masterclass concluded with informal networking.
Professor Grady also delivered the 2015 McCrea Lecture entitled ‘The Rosetta Mission: landing on a comet’ later in the evening. She talked about Rosetta mission and comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in this lecture.
This Masterclass was a wonderful opportunity for PhD students to meet Prof. Grady and to engage and network together in an informal setting. The classes are intended to be a motivation for young researchers. This class was overall very good and beneficial for early year PhD students like me.
I am thankful to Royal Irish Academy for giving me the opportunity to attend this Masterclass.
Posted by Ankit Verma, PhD Candidate, Department of Geography