Dr Helena Bates

Role: Meteorite curator at the Natural History Museum

Subject area: Meteorite mineralogy

Nationality: British



GCSE (or equivalent): GCSEs in English Literature, English Language, Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, German, History, Music, Ancient Greek, Latin, Astronomy

A-level (or equivalent): A-levels in Maths, Chemistry, Physics; AS-level in Biology

• MSci in Geophysics, Imperial College London
• PhD in atmospheric, oceanic and planetary physics, Natural History Museum/University of Oxford

Detail about Emma


My research

In my PhD I investigated the composition of hydrated meteorites and tried to match them to asteroids. I was looking at a group of asteroids which are ‘water-rich’, two of which are the targets of NASA and JAXA sample return missions (OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2).

My inspiration

My inspiration

My grandmother, who was a dentist. She was a scientist in a very male dominated field and was completely awesome. She worked a lot with cleft palates and people with HIV.

My STEM hero

Who is your STEM hero?

Pete Conrad, the Commander of Apollo 12, the third man on the Moon. He is my idol because he was funny, seemed to not take life too seriously, and was short like me! When he first stepped on the moon he said "that might have been a small step for Neil Armstrong, but it was a big step for me!"

The Earth

Most significant discovery/invention?

That the earth is round. 

The Mars Perseverance rover

Career options after study

Staying in research is definitely an option but it quite a difficult career choice. Other options include going into the space industry, for example working with space instrumentation at engineering companies, or more generally for space agencies.

Two cats in a box

My hobbies

Nail art, gaming, wine, playing with my cats!