Amy J. V. Riches      

2019, Book Project – Habitable Worlds and Planetary Sustainability (reference book). Commissioned and underway.

2021, Meeting Info – Forming and Exploring Habitable Worlds.

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 and Earth Scientist, Isotope Cosmo/Geochemist, and Petrologist
Full CV available upon request
Scholar   ORCID   Researcher ID

My research goal is to answer: How do habitable worlds form and evolve?


I am passionate about my work that seeks to understand how habitable worlds came to be, and where they can be found in and beyond our Solar System. My contributions generally draw on foundations of petrological and geochemical studies. Projects such as books that I am authoring, edited volumes and meetings that I have led, as well as their intentions to disseminate knowledge widely while actively fostering and promoting inclusion and diversity, are among factors benefiting the scientific community.  A body of workers that must exchange knowledge widely, and elevate awareness of key matters so as to ‘make a difference’ while drawing from all possible talent pools. 

Students supervised / mentored include:

  • Co-Supervisor to Mr Nicola Mari, Ph.D candidate 2016-.  Link
    “Understanding the formation and evolution of Mars.”
    Ph.D thesis completed via publication and submitted during September 2019.

    Recipient of the Meteoritical Society’s 2019 Brian Mason Award.
  • Chao Wang. Visiting Chinese Doctoral Scholar, U of Durham, UK – completed 2017.
    Now Lecturer at China University of Geosciences, Beijing.
  • Katie Singer. Planetary Science Ph.D , U of TN, USA – completed 2016.
    Now Senior Policy Analyst for the U of TN’s Office of Institutional Research.
  • Laura Brin. MSc, U of Alberta, Canada – successful 2016.
  • Further, I have supported the training of a number of other excellent and successful doctoral, masters-level, and undergraduate students who have gone on to a range of careers that they love. I thoroughly enjoy embedding independence and getting the best out of others.


I have taken a non-linear path with respect to academia, and have 6 years of postdoctoral research employ in leading laboratories in the USA, Canada, and Europe of benefit to my long-term academic career. During this time I have raised and managed significant external grant funding as PI / Co-I.  These monies include a recent award of a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship. 

2019. Freelance.
Not research employ sensu stricto – incredibly fortunate to enjoy the ultimate intellectual and academic freedom. I had compulsory civic duties to perform that non-negotiably required my time this year. In addition to finalising manuscripts and providing supervision to a Ph.D candidate in completing their thesis, I have engaged with the planetary, space sciences, and wider community. In so doing, I have:
1) published research articles in impactful journals.
2) as Editor, led successful book proposals with prominent academic publishing houses and have an advanced-level reference text under contract and underway “Habitable Worlds and Planetary Sustainability / Habitable Worlds and Sustainable Life on Earth and Beyond” (link),
3) as Chair, I have initiated and announced a four to five day international meeting for 2021 entitled “Forming and Exploring Habitable Worlds” (link),
4) also completed a major grant application as PI etc,
5) as Author, have a proposal under development for an illustrated book aimed at 8 to 12 years olds and providing sufficient information to be of interest to adults / parents.
I look forward to the next committed adventure and the thrilling opportunities that it shall bring.

2018. Cover, Analytical Geochemistry.
School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK.
Not research employ. Helped a facility where a staff member was suddenly unwell and a new laser ablation ICP-MS laboratory was being established. Plus, I wrote papers and PI’d major grant proposals linked to my dedicated planetary science interests.

2015-2017. Awarded a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship
PGE-PLANETS [meteoritical study focus] funded by the European Commission.
Arthur Holmes Laboratories, Durham Geochemistry Centre, Durham University, UK.  Prof.
Kevin W. Burton, Director of Geochemistry, hosted.

2014-2015. Project Manager.
Eco-improving home construction. Edmonton, Canada.
Full time and not research employ.

2014. Lecturer.
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Canada.
Not tenure track and not research employ.

2011-2013. Postdoctoral Research Fellow.
Canadian Centre for Isotopic Microanalysis, University of Alberta, Canada.
With one of the U of Alberta’s three Canada Excellence in Research Chairs,
Prof. D. Graham Pearson

2009-2011. Research Assistant to Research Associate and member of the Planetary Geosciences Institute, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA. I felt this to be a transformative stage of my career. Here I collaborated with a variety of leading laboratories and scholars through my work on a range of planetary science topics with the late Distinguished Professor and PGI Director Lawrence A. Taylor

2004-2008. Ph.D in petrology and isotope geochemistry, Open University, Walton Hall Campus, UK. Completed in ~3.5 years (traditional thesis), allows for 6 months mid-point medical leave. Fully-funded for the duration on a NERC scholarship.
(Ph.D certificate date July 2009.)

2000-2004. 1st class MSci Hons in Geological Sciences, Durham University, UK. My 4th year undergraduate research was first class and was subsequently published in the Journal of Petrology. My third year mapping project was first class also.


  • Contributions of knowledge and identification of new research questions -> Publications and dissemination. Link
  • 2019. Invited interview for the career profile series of the American Astronomical Society’s Committee on the Status of the Women in Astronomy. Link
  • 2016-2017. I conceived and served as Lead / Managing Guest Editor, Special Issue of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 216. “Highly Siderophile Element Constraints on Earth and Planetary Processes”. One of only ~20 GCA thematic SIs over the history of this journal of the Geochemical and Meteoritical societies, where virtually all other SIs were led by Full Professors. Over 30 manuscripts handled, 22 articles accepted to the SI, and processing completed in a 12 month period.
  • 2015-2016. I conceived, funded as PI, and drove as Chair, the 4th International Workshop on Highly Siderophile Element Geochemistry. Attended by over 75 delegates from all over the globe. Refer to the activities section.
  • 2014-. Awarded a Waitt Grant as PI by the National Geographic Society and then led an important expedition into the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Alps funded by this key grant. These activities also served to nucleate a major multi-national collaboration to complete studies with the potential to open many new interdisciplinary research questions that could reshape a field of study.
  • 2013. One of four Members of the Local Organising Committee, 76th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, Edmonton, Canada.
    Meeting Chair, Prof. Chris Herd (U of Alberta). Other team members = Assoc. Prof. Erin Walton-Hauck, and Prof. Rob Hilts (both MacEwan University).
  • Over 30 invited talks / seminars and full-theatre public presentations on the international stage since 2009, and in addition to numerous conference presentations (both talks and posters) all over the globe.


I was the first member of my extended family to attend university, and to be considered able to in a pragmatic sense; it has proven to be so much fun that I have stayed in the system. Whatever your background and path through life, being fortunate in education and dedication to your passions can provide for all kinds of opportunities the world over.

I’m sorry I know so little. I’m sorry we all know so little.
But that’s kind of the fun, isn’t it?
Vera Rubin

There is no cure for curiosity.

Member of the Meteoritical Society, Geochemical Society, European Association of Geochemistry, American Geophysical Union, Marie Curie Alumni Association, Royal Astronomical Society [Fellow], and Royal Society of Chemistry.

My other interests include a cat called Ninja, crafts, walks and basketball.