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Professor Monica Grady

Kirsty Young talks to space scientist Professor Monica Grady.

Kirsty Young's castaway is Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University.

Well-known in scientific circles, at NASA and the European Space Agency, she came to the attention of the general public with her enthusiastic celebration when, as part of the Rosetta project, the probe Philae became the first-ever spacecraft to land on a comet - 67P - in November 2014. The spacecraft had taken ten years to journey through space and a decade was spent on the preparations.

She was born in 1958 in Leeds as the eldest of eight children. She studied chemistry and geology at Durham University and did her PhD on carbon in meteorites at Cambridge, where she worked closely with Professor Colin Pillinger on the Beagle 2 project to Mars. She first worked at the OU in 1983 before joining the Department of Mineralogy of the Natural History Museum, becoming Head of the Meteorites and Cosmic Mineralogy Division. She is married to Professor Ian Wright who is one of the lead scientists on the Rosetta cometary mission and they have one son. She was awarded a CBE in 2012 for services to space sciences and asteroid (4731) was named "Monicagrady" in her honour.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

39 minutes

Last on

Fri 31 Jul 2015 09:00

Music Played

  • Meat Loaf

    Bat Out Of Hell

    • Meat Loaf: Live At Wembley.
    • Arista.
  • Arthur Sullivan

    When the Foeman Bares His Steel (from The Pirates of Penzance)

    Librettist: W.S. Gilbert. Performer: D'Oyly Carte Opera Chorus. Performer: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Isidore Godfrey.
    • Pirates of Penzance.
    • Decca.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Variations on the St Antoni Chorale

    Performer: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Conductor: Bernard Haitink.
    • Brahms: the Symphonies.
    • Philips.
  • Simon & Garfunkel

    Bridge Over Troubled Water

    • Bridge Over Troubled Water.
    • CBS.
  • Ultravox


    • Vienna.
    • Chrysalis.
  • Leonard Salzedo

    Fanfare for the Open University (from Divertimento)

    Performer: Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.
    • Just Brass.
    • ARGO Records.
  • Karl Jenkins

    Agnus Dei

    Performer: National Youth Choir of Great Britain. Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Paul Benniston.
    • Karl Jenkins - The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace.
    • Virgin Classics.

    • Bedrich Smetana


      Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: James Levine.
      • Smetana: Moldau, Vysehrad.
      • Deutsche Grammophon.

    Ulysses by James Joyce




Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Monica Grady
Producer Cathy Drysdale


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