Chance and a fascination for discovery brought a young geologist to the Natural History Museum – she now looks after the oldest specimens in the collection.
Dr Caroline Smith became a meteorite expert almost by accident. At the end of her geology degree, she badly injured her knee, meaning she was unable to go on fieldwork for her thesis. Instead, she went to the Natural History Museum in London and was handed a box of meteorites from Antarctica and asked to categorise them.
Ever since, she’s been attached to both meteorites and the Museum, looking after their important collection, planning exhibitions and talking to the public. She says some of the most thrilling days are when big news breaks and she’s asked to talk to the press, such as in February 2013 when a huge meteorite streaked across the sky in Russia.
The collection also includes two Martian meteorites that fell almost exactly 100 years apart. They contain evidence that Mars was once a wet place, and that some rocks could lock away carbon dioxide, as they do on Earth.
‘It’s another piece of the puzzle that shows that Mars and Earth are actually quite similar,’ she says.
Dr Smith will talk about these fascinating specimens and more during her lecture at Dorset County Museum on 8th October 2014. The lecture takes place at 7.00pm and doors are open from 6.30pm. The event is free but donations are welcome and all are welcome to attend.
For more information please Tel: 01305 262735 or visit our website at www.dorsetcountymuseum.org.