Another chance to hear Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University, interviewed by Kirsty Young in July 2015. 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. DISC ONE: Meat Loaf - Bat out of Hell DISC TWO: Gilbert & Sullivan - When the Foeman Bares His Steel from The Pirates of Penzance, conducted by Isidore Godfrey, played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, sung by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Chorus DISC THREE: Brahms’ St Anthony Chorale – played by Murray Perahia & Georg Solti DISC FOUR: Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water DISC FIVE: Ultravox - Vienna DISC SIX: Fanfare for the Open University from Leonard Salzedo’s Divertimento, played by Philip Jones Brass Ensemble DISC SEVEN: The Agnes Dei from Karl Jenkin’s The Armed Man, sung by the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra DISC EIGHT: Smetana‘s Ma Vlast (My Homeland) played by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vaclav Talich Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Previously sounds music. Radio broadcasts high lower Laverne here desert island discs is taking its usual summer break so to keep you in detail and until we're back on it, we ve chosen some fabulous additions from our back catalogue to listen to while you're on your holidays as usual as this is a protest, the music has been shortened for rights reasons. This week's guest is Monica Grady, professor of planetary and space sciences. At the open university, she was cast away by Kirsty young in twenty fifteen, we hope you enjoy listening my customary this week, Is the space scientist professor Monica Grady
life on mars and star dust on two of her chosen discs, but rather the subjects she has devoted her working life to understanding the geochemistry of primitive meteorites and the possibilities of life elsewhere in the cosmos have been her passion and preoccupation for thirty five years. when the robot proved feline made history landing on a comet last year? She was part of the european space agency team that made it happen. The venerable professors, reaction of ecstatic jumps, fists pumps, whoops and even a few tears were all captured by the tv news cameras and went vital. No wonder she was just the spacecraft had taken ten years to make its journey and safely reach its destination. She grew up the eldest of eight children in leeds and her first research project was good preparation for the patience and precision her profession no demands as a youngster each night she knelt down the precise time the sun went down, and the street lamps outside her bedroom window kay
on she did it. For a year awarded the c b e for services to space science beckoned twenty twelve. She also has an asteroid named after her. She says no way was a brilliant at school and many of us did science. I was near the top of the class, but worked hard for this. I was a studious little swat sua welcome professor when I click crazy. We are talking today only two weeks after this, Eli lander started speaking its woken up. Unexpectedly after seven months, it said hello earth. Can you hear which was such a charming thing to say: how do you given up hope, No, no, no, definitely, never given up hope when
feel I landed in november to batteries on board permanent battery and one which could be recharged by the sun, but unfortunate landed in the wrong place on the comments, basically somewhere in shadow. So we ve had to wait for the committee at close to the sun, so the strengthening sunlight falling on feel I solar panels has now charged up the battery a it needs twenty five watson how're to actually do stuff and then communicate the results to rosetta and what is it? You're hoping it communicates welders, twelve instruments on board feel I but the one time involved where these call ptolemy and so were hoping it's going to communicate what compounds there are in the surface of the comments and in the gases coming off the comment important because it's going to tell us what sort of compounds there are and how they relate to the compounds on earth from which life is made fastening
No, let's just talk about this footage is not very often that we see a former president of the international meteorological society lose the call on the italian hugger report. What did you think when you saw yourself on tv? I was horrified and poor old David shook me, who I hugged. I'm sorry flitches when he sees me in the same room, is ebner when I got back, I was appalled they fool. I seem to have made myself in a punch in the air and yelling its landed, but in my defence we'd be waiting for a long time to do this, and since then I have been absolutely knocked out by the response I get from people who say how pleased they were to see this unconscious and self conscious outpouring of joy. Well, it was completely on the self conscious. I dont think you made a fool of yourself at all like to me watching whom what I thought it communicated was not just a moment of significant personal achievement for you.
Your big team there, but also the sense in which sciences rockin rule. You know it's very vague then inventing exciting we did at the sharp end. Yes, yes, it is. I mean we ve been waiting again with the programmes launched in two thousand and four, so we ve been beijing ten years, but we do not seem much much longer than that in a building the instrument. Guessing the mission accept is basically a thirty programme and suddenly is happening land. That is, I'm tasks, Well, yes, bring it s my eyes, even just sort of revisiting apron. The studio lets them here. Your first piece of music, professor Monica greatly. What are we gonna hear? But out of Hell, this is my carry oki solemnly the two minutes of egg tar. At the start, it has to be seen to be believed. You know it does bring tests
They are highly dependent on the debts separately, with the picture that was meatloaf ambassadors of hell and professor monti agree. I should tell this news that I was treated to a bit of you re a good supper. Then it was perfectly in time. Let's talk for a moment, then about this thing called ptolemy, ITALY's instruments that are analyzing. Hopefully the data is collected-
from the comment and is right that it should have sniffing its way round this year. Yet let me talk about the international scale of weights and measures which is used to describe space instruments, so I'm involved with an instrument called ptolemy detectors. The size of the cotton rail, which is something the size of a shoe box which is on feel I wish, is the size of a washing machine which has launched on the comment the size of heathrow runway. So you know that's the sort of international scale whom he could result makes you white goods. So the ptolemy, if you think about how you snare
You know you breathe in the air around you in the detectives in your nose say: oh I've detected something in the computer in your brain, interprets it as as lie le coeur curio. Does he not feasible ever so? That's what ptolemy does it takes in the gas on the fine particles through the detectors which thence interpret what molecule sarah? So what what compounds roaring? That is it carbon dioxide? Is it water? Is it something like benzene? Is? It something like, maybe in amino acid, and so that's what it does to directly quote. Professor Brian Coxey says science has got very big and very complicated and as Listening to you, I am struck by your ability to communicate its in ways that are entirely understandable to ignorant people like me do you spent much time going out and talking to to normal people. what about science hate scientists, a normal people
Well, you know what I'm saying I'm using normal, be less ignorance is well under way. I do I've been doing a lot. More sense feel I landed in november. I love talk to people that science, because it we need more scientists more engineers, and if I can talk to people about that, that's great more on those I'm sure to come, for no professor monica greedy lets you about your second disk this morning. This from the parts of penzance by gilbert and Sullivan and its when the fireman bears his steel, which is a duet eventually son by two groups. The policeman and dave we mean. What I love about is it brings home my family to me so much my father. He died fifteen years ago he used to sing a lot, especially on car journeys, de I will join in love the harm and I love the fact that it brings my father,
to me so easily say quickly with hearing him singing that surrounds arouse and as old joining in member states. Comfortable, see behind the wisest thing is to snap something when france and with the mute Your heart is, in my view, there is now. Having brings it round right from its marshall, sound like that my son.
Passive, when the footman bears his steel by gilbert and sullivan from the pilots of penzance, some, thereby the doily card opera chorus and accompanied by the royal philharmonic orchestra conducted by Zita Godfrey, and you said you saying that in the car and given that these were family trips- and you were the eldest of eight and wondering what the heck the family car was out of heavily car. We had a remarkably disgustingly beige, colored transit apart from the drivers, doorways pale blue. Some is a phase of the day that I made safe swell dad how to see bout. My father was a teacher and the kids at scully taught you call this a jake, I'm a bail. He was known as old jake. You describe yourself on social media as short round display.
the cold, busy and bossy now you are a very, very eminent scientists. Muddle think that our many who would have such public since, if themselves, is that I think that it comes from my my family. They, the eldest of eight children, I mean you, don't get to have much ie go eat at all to the extent that one of my nicknames for my sisters was moto, which the formation of the orphanage which they reckoned
I was going to be when I grew up, so this would have been sort of through the nineteen sixty you'd been born in nineteen. Fifty eight, as you say, your father was a teacher. Your mother had originally also been a teacher, but she had eight kids in ten years, some guessing she gave up teaching the two. Yes, she stopped work again. She studied bringing of eight children from the age. When I was about eight also, I guess man went to work in a nursery school, but it has taken was always on the table. Everything was I end. It was calm, loving, family, hay and church was a big part of family life. Was it church was a big part. Family life is a big part of my life, still I'm a calf.
One of the few trips we went on his family's was on sundays. To mass dad would take us all in the old jake. My bail yeah, I'm in church very, very important to me as strong thread that that runs through my life. Let's have some more music professor Monica greedy. I'm tell me about your sword peace this morning, Well. This is a variation on saint anthony corral on the voracious by brahms and this brings, but my schooldays, I can see miss lawton, ah deputy had mistress and My mouse teach I can see her sewing away the double base in the school orchestra, as this him was plays.
Concern about orchestra conduct to do by bernard, heightened complain, part of bronze and anthony's corral. So
superior were teachers your mother had given up teaching to raise her big brute late children. I'm wondering if high achievement from the children, especially the eldest, was sort of non negotiable. Did they expect you to perform well in exams and at school now the expected us to do our best, but teachers tensor band together anyway, and of course they are, the catholic teaching community leads in the ninety. Six is ninety seventys was quite small, said, daddy all my teacher and it's just arch and greatest daughter right and if I had misbehaved, if any of us miss behaved like
parents always took the side of the teacher with just the sort of non, negotiable and and space and space travel and our understanding of space in the middle east sixties. You know sexy stuff, it was it was. It was brave, new frontiers. Do you remember watching any of that, when I remember sets allay watching Neil Armstrong on the moon out my memory of this at which is a possibly faulty? I don't know if I remember watching it in the afternoon and it was in July, and it must be really bright sunshine because we'd closed all the curtains to watch it on me. hello vision- I don't know whether it was relaying it later on on on the news, but I remember was sitting in the semi, daul watching and bang up city fantastic? Another had no realisation, then clear what it meant
was eleven years you yourself as a space. Scientists have worked with samples of moon rock. I have yet what cars too, as you hold it in your human hands? Well, these rocks so beautiful and it was looking at moon rocks. This actually got me into the meat rights and asteroids hide. It so why are they so beautiful, well or geologists, look set rocks they they they cut a very thin slice through them, polish it. So when you look at them under the microscope, you can I night through them, now rocks from the earth, several cracked and broken, and if I had rain- and there you know, get bit rest in the final still very beautiful colors that you save the minerals.
The rocks from the moon, the apollo rocks were are beautiful because I haven't been range on, or some of them are bit shocked, but they were beautiful, crystal faces and deep, very clear, colors, absolutely superber. When I hold a meteorite, though in my hands you hold it and you think if I break this open, I'm looking at something which is four thousand five hundred and sixty seven million years old. Nobody else is ever seen this. This be huitfeldt Capps ii, which is telling me about
the history of the solar system. You know it's just it it's just maisie, oh, I wish you'd been my science due to time for some were music. Then we're going to hear your fourth tell me about this. Why does business? This is bridge ever travel water by Simon and garfunkel, and this is the first l p I I bought. We didn't have rico player, so there is no point, bang any records than we were given some seventy eights. So we then gotta use acceptance, and then I saved my pocket money and not eu citizens that radio, oldtime, radio, luxembourg or lots of stuff- and I heard this is my favorite check rigidity.
that was a non governmental and bridge over troubled. What you were about to finish your degree, monica crazy and on a job caught your attention. It happened to be working for the man that we would all come to new. As professor compellingly, who became a vase amos british scientist, indeed the late common billinger at what was it that appeal to you time about that top. Do you want the truth? Yes, I own. I am interested in this new era, a cab I loved, being durham, where I did my basic and it was chemistry and geology hemisphere, geology, and it wasn't until I got my degree that I realize I actually, I could possibly do a page day and I went to the careers office and I saw these advert and its had. One,
Sid, physicists, chemist or geologists or astronomer royal mathematician to come to work with dots, calling pillaged the university of cambridge to study Luna. Ambles a meteorite adored seen luna samples realise how beautiful they were. But what really attracted me to this was the job was in cambridge, because the guy who is my boyfriend at the time and got a job which is a bit ignoble, especially as on the first day when I was in cave, which I saw a fellow, choosing Ethel, while he's really at all- and this is why you didn't want to tell her the truth and not long after that I did my boyfriend and then we got together. And then eventually I reader, I married him at nineteen. Eighty one was, I think you would have been about twenty three and I think it was when you would have given your first
look at a conference, did you I mean you oughta communicator by nature, you have a gregarious personality. Did you from that moment realised that? Well I mean I'm a doctor water with stuff. No, the very first talk I gave it. A conference was n burn in switzerland at a conference. I was absolutely petrified, absolutely terrified. While it has a phd student, I was talking to an audience of e freely senior scientists and you're, telling The details of your science in your latest research and you ve got ten minutes to do it and then they ask questions of five minutes is absolutely nerve racking. Fortunately they chair of the session, you know he could see. I was a trembling students and can now, I guess, I'm a senior.
Scientists. I can tell a new ameliorate your your comments in a new help, the student and that's what you have to do. You have a responsibility as a senior scientist, to help more junior scientists to make them comfortable and to reassure them that they are important scientists and what they are doing is every bit as important and probably more important than what senior scientists are doing. Because my time eurozone signs is iran. Committees in your rights and grant proposes or lots of stuff. You often not the co face anymore. That's what music professor monica Grady it's time for your fists, my fifth s, vienna, by ultra vocs I've already referred tibet to eta. In my husband, we started We got together in nineteen eighty one, and this is how a song
things do that was of oxen, vienna and eta cases when a crazy to your husband, who is also a space scientist, you gave a intriguing snapshot layer of this significant time when you took your first faltering stats ice into the limelight of presenting your findings in the work you are doing to senior scientists and this
What's that you were given by the people around you and you will be more than well away, of course, of the noble lorries and fell off the whole societies at him. Hunt being mired in this recent controversy over his public comments relating to to use his phrase, the trouble with girls in science and of what problems have you had through the decades? As women in science and engineering in those environments, the us that are so often male dominated none. I have been very very fortunate. I did it a great university and I was encouraged by my tutors there. I did a phd at cambridge with colleagues pillage yahoo, probably never even considered gender. Never even
thought about it. So what's the problem here because of course, as we know in young women in schools, engage in signs are fascinated by its they, they do the subjects and then they draw pilot gradually, as the stakes get hot, is the problem, their perception or is the problem that they are meeting prejudice. I think part of the programme is perception now in the national curriculum school students are expected to do some science, but it's often not promoted in the white should be. Teachers are getting best bet. A con stress enough: the importance of school teachers and they influence. They have an ok science and engineering isn't for everybody, but I think there is sometimes a perception that, oh, if you're, going to science, all you gotta do is science without thinking
of all the other applications. Science education gives you. Why you you use it absolutely everything, and what about combining, because this consumer often be the problem, the very long hours and the dedication that takes was also being a mother which which you have done yes How did you overcome all right? Well, I overcame it because I got very very supportive husband who knew my career was important to me. And in the way his career is important to him. At the time I was working at the open university, but then I shifty jobs to go. Look at the natural history museum at alone. mute every day we limited off only to one child. It was a decision we took, you know, was the right decision or the wrong decision. I don't know, but child care is much better now than it was. Then employers are much more open minded and much more flexible, but
the woman has to do that child bearing the labour and the feeding afterwards, and you have to take a career break even if it's only a month and its supporting women coming back after that break that that's really really vital time for some more music. Professor Monica greedy, tell me about this, your six. This is a piece of music which I hope will be familiar to a lot of people, or at least the opening bits of it will be. They might not have heard the rest of it and there is now take this to a desert. Island is because I do want to remember my workplaces its. Well, it's just play it. Safe people recognise it
Was leonardo cells, etas diverse him into also known more commonly to lots of people expect as the fanfare for the open university, it was played there by philip Djinns brass on somber. Let's talk from moments: Monica grady about science funding. There was s project all in cost. But a billion euros dollars, you eyes euros here, we are at a time when all over Indeed, all over europe and beyond people are having to tighten their belts. The question might reasonably be asked why on earth would we choose to spend billion on something that site there remains very little to us than here. If we a billion euros and put it in a second set fire to it. That would be outrageous, but we did. We took
billion euros and we use it to employ people to build the rocket. We use it to buy the components for the rocket. Those components have to be met manufactured somewhere that people have to actually build the instruments designed them and then does the other aspects of it. We ve, which we touched on a bit, is so many people have been following the re admission feeling they being inspired to actually find out a bit more teachers are getting resources than the european space agency to teach that children who are going to become on to become scientist engineers in the future. What about the implications of the research that is being done? Will they be opportunities for that research to be applied to our everyday lives? Absolutely a say: you got your third prong, then you know you got you spin offs teflon was the famous spin off from the apollo program
but our shoe books sized instrument ptolemy once you ve, taken something. Enormous the size of this. This radio studio, which was our laboratory prototype shrink, enters toolbox. Do the things with it. You can take it out into the failed to test for tb. You can put it on a submarine to check on air quality. You can look for bedbugs in hotels. You can check for equality on the anti guy fly. All these things being done within these are things that we do here and there at all lots of side benefits that you can pay for. What is the likelihood? Do you think of ever finding life on him? planets- and I guess here by life, I'm talking about evidence of you know of maybe long dead organisms, swollen little green men with officials on their head. My hope is that we'll see
of dinosaurs roaming across the plains of moss, because once we ve done that of funding is forever ok, but let's I've lived a little. Sadly, that's not very likely to happen The idea that there is life elsewhere in the solar system is is really one of the aspects of studying this comment, because these comments have delivered carbon and warsaw to all planets in the solar system. So all the building blocks of life there. The opportunity has been there for life to get going maws on mercury, on venus on the moons of jupiter and sesar. Now some places is more likely than others that life could get going. I don't think we'll ever find extraterrestrial intelligence, but life. All things are really really good chance of finding some time simple lifeline. Let's have some one. Is it monica? We are seventh piece of the dates only about this disc, this,
as they are, man a masterpiece by coal, jenkins and the music that I like is sold harmonious, and this is again a beautiful coral piece which, which love.
agnes due from chrome jenkins, the armed men, some new by the national use coins. Great Britain, accompanied by the london philharmonic orchestra, was pull peniston on trumpets you spent fourteen years natural, History, museum, professor monica gradient, but what was the most interesting work that you did whilst he within? What really
stands out was just been able to go into the major collection, open, the cupboard doors and just look at the matrix and being like a kid in a suite of being able to choose the material. I wanted to research, which is absolutely fantastic, didn't have to write, begging letters to a curator like I do now. It was really great how to fund testing time there, but fourteen years of commuting from from milton gains is just too much, and I went back to the area in two thousand and five and you were a research leader and professor of planetary in space sciences, and you you, you, if you still do, but you shouldn't office by that time, with with with your husband, denies that we always worked a lot of harm in the choices today and I'm wondering if harmonious in the office together. Yes, yes, we ve always been harmonious in the office. He said a designer and a builder takes a scientific problem and looks at it and how am I going to tackle designed to ptolemy instrument, and I
use, our I'm like. Ok, hey you yeah. This is great instrument in a less use it to do. This he's incredibly creative and olive working with it. We have great discussions over the dinner table. I, which is of a high suspects. All son, did a degree in art let's talk a bit about the matter of creation and because it's been very interesting to hear you occasionally this morning and talk about religion the fact that you are still oppressing catholic when you look at these incredible slivers of of rock or when you luke's were telescope ice at the night sky, acting that reinforces your sense of where religion is. I don't know whether it does actually I'm a faith. Is it just permeates everything? It's just there an unsafe, a con separate signs from it, but I'm not I'm not a creation. Ist cod,
ever ever be imagined. I very happy wave evolution and already in evolution and all tat sort of stuff, I think one of the most powerful documents that I've read recently was they and sickly Collop pope frances put out in mid june about this, our common home warning of the dangers of climate change and to me that's where my faith comes in, we can't care for our earth our solar system, our universe, if we don't care for the people on it and an gopher social justice and all those sorts of things, it's difficult for me to article eight, but to me so important it all bound together less talk than before. We finish today about this little thing for you lie which has taken up so much of your life. There's is sitting on this comments sniffing away, hopefully
finding out things that will be significant to all mankind, ten years in the planning to guess hips literally off the ground, you must be very patient. Emphatic shouldn't. I was fine things to occupy me. I would not have a problem being on a designer science wouldn't think. I'd start writing a book called a thousand and one things to see and do on a desert island. I wouldn't have any problem with we giving myself ay ay distractingly sexy rests girt. Boy, water out of cocoanuts lets them goosey or final disk, professor Monica greedy for should begin to here to see his out today. we're going to hear the second movement from smitten asthma last means my homeland. I love listening to this particular movement because it's about a river and you can have
the young river, and then it becomes a middle aged river than an elder river, any sweeps into grandeur. I just love hearing the youth into middle age,
smitten asthma last play there by the vienna philharmonic orchestra conducted by James Levine, so professor Monica Grady, I'm gonna give you the complete works of shakespeare and the bible, and he gets take another book. And get sick a book of never read a large it from the library loads of times always taken it back after read the first three pages, its ulysses by James Joe, some and I reckon on it as ireland. I might be able to make sense of it if I can't I'll, just tear it up and use it first. Sanitary purposes a whole profits that, then is your additional book and the luxury to military. My flute, I'm learning play the fleets. My husband gave me the flu, my fiftieth birthday, and I love it tonight, it's yours and which one of these eight discs of the morning would you save. It will be the last one, love last
its use, professor monica gracie. Thank you very much for letting us here you does it island discs it, spain, a huge pleasure. Thank you so much for inviting me. I hope even joyed cast his conversation with money, which was recorded in July. Twenty fifty you'll find many more scientists, including professor Brian, coax professor dame Nancy worthwhile and professor calling passenger in the desert unaddressed back catalogue on BBC sounds or via the website. Next week you can hear the choices of psychology and about lowering it can you couldn't? I'm signed a monday heist of don't tell me the school of the pope costs that uses sport to explore life's bigger questions covering topics, light resilience trod.
Ism and fear with people like this. You keep during my fear and me I always want to bring about it. Are you actually endanger? That's alex huddled star of the oscar winning film free solo, in which he climbed a three thousand foot. She cliff without right, So I mean a lot of those in our social anxiety things and soon I've had a lot of issues with hearken to attract people. My lab I don't know like. I could never do that, and it certainly feels like you're gonna die, but at least we are not going to die and that's all practice to have listened too. Don't tell me to school full of useful everyday tips from incredible people on BBC sounds
Transcript generated on 2022-06-08.