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

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

My personal professional interests concern the fundamental origin(s) and evolution of rocky bodies. In particular, my research and scholarship has the aim of addressing:

  • How well do we understand planetary core-mantle-crust formation, accretion histories, and high-velocity impact processes?
  • 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?

I utilise mineralogical / petrologic and geochemical (elemental and isotopic) findings for melt rocks to constrain the histories and relationships among planetary precursors and telluric planets. 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.

Main Research Themes     Books     Kind and Inclusive Community Cultures     Activities    Blog
2021, Featured in the Geochemical Society’s Meet-the-Scientist series
2021, “Uniting to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in a Pandemic and Post-pandemic World“, EAG

2020, “Writing for Change”, European Association of Geochemistry
2020, Spotlight with the American Geophysical Union
2020 Profile, National Geographic Explorer
2019, Interview, American Astronomical Society
CV available on request.
Available for scientific and media enquiries. Contact form below.
2022, Meeting Info – Forming and Exploring Habitable Worlds.

Career summary: There is no cure for curiosity.

Writer and Editor.
Various books concerning planetary and space science under way and under contract – advanced academic texts and popular science; the latter being complementary creative hobbies.
SETI Affiliate Scientist, Carl Sagan Centre, USA.
Visiting Honorary Fellow, University of Edinburgh, UK.
Founding Member (1 of 14) and Co-Chair, European Association of Geochemistry’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. 
Some of our recently-founded team’s activities are conducted in partnership with the DEI Working Group 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.

Analytical Geochemist
University of Glasgow, UK.
6 months and not active research.

**It should be noted that I enjoy the gains of purposefully diversified careers as well as respect of STEMinism and matters of equity. In terms of belief, my view is that the multi-faceted work that we do for the good of the world is an inherently collaborative endeavour. Working in a variety of different ways is an important and natural part of what we do. Everyone is different, each person has their own superpowers, and ‘dis’ability is a social construct; such status is one among others protected by law.**

Marie Curie Individual Fellowship – “PGE PLANETS”
Arthur Holmes Laboratories, Durham University, UK.
Returned to academia and research as a PI funded by the European Commission.

National Geographic Explorer and Eco-building Project Manager
Edmonton, Canada.
PI to National Geographic Society Waitt Grant.
Not academic research employ.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow and contract Lecturer
Canadian Centre for Isotopic Microanalysis, University of Alberta, Canada.
With Canadian Excellence in Research Chair, Prof. D. Graham Pearson
Research and building some of the largest laboratories of their kind in the world.

Pre-doctoral and Post-doctoral  Research Associate.
Planetary Geosciences Institute, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA.
With PGI Director and late Distinguished Professor Lawrence A. Taylor.

Ph.D Isotope geochemistry and igneous petrology.
Open University, UK.
Full NERC scholarship.

MSc Geological Sciences, first class honours.
Durham University, UK.
Published undergraduate research.

Students supervised / trained / mentored include:

  • Co-Supervisor to Dr. Nicola Mari, Ph.D candidate, U of Glasgow, doctorate completed 2020.
    “Understanding the formation and evolution of Mars.”
    Recipient of the Meteoritical Society’s 2019 Brian Mason Award.
    Now Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Pavia, Italy.
  • Dr. Chao Wang. Visiting Chinese Doctoral Scholar, U of Durham, UK – completed 2017.
    Now Lecturer at China University of Geosciences, Beijing.
  • Dr. 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 a strong interest in mentoring others and have supported the training of a number of other excellent and successful doctoral (5+), masters-level (3+), and undergraduate students (8+) who have gone on to a range of careers that they love.
  • In teaching undergraduate and graduate classes I have drawn a sense of reward in contributing more broadly to the education of the next generation of potential problem solvers and decision makers, and in doing so I thoroughly enjoy embedding independence and getting the best out of others.

Professional Affiliations: Member of the Meteoritical Society, Geochemical Society, European Association of Geochemistry, American Geophysical Union, Marie Curie Alumni Association, Royal Astronomical Society [Fellow],  Royal Society of Chemistry [MRSC], American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences, 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, 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.