Hilary Downes

Date: Saturday 16th November | Time: 2.15pm  – 3.15pm


Prof Hilary Downes

Professor of Geochemistry  Birkbeck University Of London


I work in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Birkbeck University of London, where I am a professor of Geochemistry. I have been involved in Planetary Science since I spent time at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston Texas, and worked with colleagues at the Johnson Space Centre (JSC) which is next door. I have a BSc (Geological Sciences) from University of Durham, an MSc in Geology from University of Calgary (Canada), and a PhD from University of Leeds. 
My interests in planetary science include the origin and evolution of planets and asteroids. I have done a lot of research on ureilite meteorites which are achondrites that represent the interior of a disrupted asteroid.

Lecture synopsis

 “Lost planets of the Solar System”

The early Solar System was a violent place. Before the familiar planets were formed, several earlier generations of small planets and asteroids were formed and were destroyed by impact and collisions. One planet is thought to have smashed into the growing Earth and formed the Moon from the collision. This talk will present evidence for the existence of these lost worlds, from which only tiny fragments remain, hiding in our meteorite collections.