Amy J. V. Riches
Do not follow where the path may lead.
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail (and see who joins in!).

Amy walk

Planetary Geoscientist
Isotope Cosmo/Geochemist and Petrologist
Writer and Editor, Educator
Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advocate (link)
She / Her / Hers
Scholar     ORCID     Researcher ID

Available for outreach / public engagement, scientific and media enquiries. Contact form below.

Research goal: How do habitable (Earth-like) worlds form and evolve?

for website topic 2Image credit: Julian Baum

My personal professional interests concern the fundamental origin(s) and evolution of rocky bodies (within our home Solar System – asteroids, Mars, the Earth-Moon system etc). In particular, my research and scholarship has the aim of addressing:

  • How well do we understand planetary chemistries, core-mantle-crust formation, accretion histories, and high-velocity impact processes? Particularly among protoplanets?
  • What are the compositions of rocky body interiors and / or primitive melts?
  • What are the constituent parts among meteorites, and what is the importance of each distinctive feature / fraction?
  • What happens during extraterrestrial magma generation and crystallisation?
  • How do planetary magmas relate to one another (or not), and in what ways do they physically behave on other worlds? and;
  • How can the puzzle of extraterrestrial crusts, volcanic edifices and lava flows be reconstructed from meteorite data?

image description
False colour / optical images of Yamato 984028, an ultramafic shergottite from Mars.

I utilise mineralogical / petrologic and geochemical (elemental and isotopic) findings for natural melt rocks to constrain the histories and relationships among planetary precursors and telluric planets. Among the broad range of chemical tools that I apply are a suite of iron loving elements and corresponding osmium isotopic tracers. Knowledge generated through my work is important in informing theoretical frameworks of the evolution of solar systems as well as for constraining key aspects of the thermophysical conditions and chemical inventories available for life to arise, survive, and evolve.

In enjoying being useful in sharing science more widely, I am interested in:

  • How can we ensure that practices associated with space exploration and off-Earth living are sustainable and responsible?
  • Does outreach / science communication not only inform, build trust, help shape policy, and entertain the global public, but can it also entice all kinds of talent from the earliest of ages to the more mature to better the future of science?
  • What are the most effective ways to come together to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion among international STEM education settings and workforces – especially geochemistry and planetary science?


Signatory and advocator of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment and Plan-S publication practices.

2022, Meeting Info – Forming and Exploring Habitable Worlds.

Main Research Themes     Books     Kind and Inclusive Community Cultures     Activities    Blog

CV available on request.

Current: Science Writer, Editor, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion activist.
Visiting Honorary Fellow, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK.
SETI Affiliate Scientist, Carl Sagan Centre, Mountain View, CA, USA.
Co-Chair, European Association of Geochemistry’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. (A related keynote talk)

Some of our recently-founded team’s activities are conducted in partnership with the DEI Committee of the Geochemical Society. We go further together. Thus, we are presently considering formalising wider collaborations and endorsements beneficial to our DEI remit, and advantageous to the reach required to bring change beneficial for all. Please refer to the EAG blog for more info.

Professional Affiliations: Member of the Meteoritical Society, Geochemical Society, European Association of Geochemistry, American Geophysical Union, Royal Astronomical Society [Fellow],  Royal Society of Chemistry [MRSC], American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences, Marie Curie Alumni Association, Inspiring Futures and Inspiring Governance,  STEM NET Ambassador, the Secure World Foundation, UK Planetary Forum, Moon Dialogs, the Lunar and Lunar policy lists, Federation of Writers, Association of British Science Writers, EuroPlanet Society, Earth Science Women’s Network, Committee on Publication Ethics [Member] and more. 

My other interests include a cat called Ninja, calm quiet crafts, walks, reading, eco-conscious living, basketball, and a range of charitable contributions.

“Without freedom of choice there is no creativity” Cpt. Kirk, Star Trek.