Imperial College London

Dr Randall S. Perry

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Senior Research Investigator



+44 (0)20 7594 6425r.perry Website CV




Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





Senior Research Investigator

Chair and founder the UK Space Design Competition and chair and founder of the Space Science and Engineering Foundation (SSEF). A UK charity set up to promote younger students interest in engineering and science. Currently nine regional competitions are held throughout the UK and the National finals held at Imperial College. Regional competition host 800 students primarily at universities. In addition video entries allow students unable to attend a regional challenge to gain entry into the UK national finals. Earth Sciences and Engineering hosts a regional competition each fall and the national finals each year during March. Approximately 230 students participate in the Imperial national finals and 12 are selected to go to either Kennedy Space Center for the International Finals. A parallel challenge run for all EU member states also sends 12 students to the International finals in the US. Many of the alumni, volunteer and support the challenges and most are attending universities including Imperial College as a result of their experiences.                   

The competition has close ties and is partially supported by the UK Space Agency and Dangoor Education.

The SSEF also hosts Galactic Challenges events for student 10 years old to 14 years old throughout the UK. They are day events run in conjunction with schools.

He is part of the Impacts and Astromaterials Research Centre Imperial College London.

SCIENCE AREAS OF INTEREST: Astrobiology/Exobiology. Space and Engineering Science education. Ethics in science and medicine. Medical geology. Philosophy and psychology of language. Psychology of Science. Microbial and mineral interface.  Biomineralization, and dissolution and redepositon of minerals. Interactions of DNA, amino acids, and polysaccharides with minerals, particularly silica. Amino acids in meteorites. Preservation of microbes and “prebiotic chemicals” in minerals and their detection in ancient earth environments and hydrothermal deposits. Understanding the mechanisms of formation of rock coatings. Life in extreme environments. Prebiotic and biotic chemical evolution. Evolution and chemical composition of planets and planetary bodies. Biology and knowledge. Organic signatures of the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction boundary. Definition of life. Tropical diseases and parasitology. Chemistry of organic compounds and pigments in paintings.

Besides science and giving talks, such as Science and Art at Chelsea Art Club and as an invited speaker at Durham Advanced Institure's annual lecture on the Definition of Life. A lecture open to the public- Randall S Perry is a member of the Writers Guild of America West in Los Angeles and on IMDb. He has written three novels under RS Perry ( and is currently working on a screen adaptation and a documentary film, Beau Dick  and also a feature film about the UKSDC called Space Games with First Light Media and Athene Films . He is the author of numerous publications on subjects ranging from science and linguistics to art.  He has recently given talks in Colombia, Singapore and New York City about the Space Competition and has written a chapter with Dr Catherine Fosnot on the Psychology of Learning. He is the editor of a book about the UK Space Design Competition in which Dr Fosnot has written a chapter. He enjoys art and painting. He had twenty years of business experience as a company director and president before returning to finish a doctorate in Astrobiology at the University of Washington in 2004. Dr Perry was a Royal Society fellow at Imperial College London and held a US International fellowship at Oxford, England. He is a company director and producer with two media companies,  and First Light Media. He is currently the chair of the Space Science Engineering Foundation (SSEF), an educational charity set up to support the UK Space Settlement Design Competition. He has won numerous awards and was short listed for the Arthur C. Clarke Award in the summer of 2013. Besides being interested in creative, scientific and business projects, Randall is also an adventurer and explorer of mountains and oceans. He has crossed the Atlantic by sailboat, dived to the bottom of the ocean in Alvin, is an experienced high mountain climber and holds fixed wing multi-engine with instrument rating and a helicopter pilot’s license. He currently splits his time between London, Vancouver and Malta.

- See more at:



Perry RS, Sephton MA, 2009, Reply to comments on defining biominerals and organominerals: Direct and indirect indicators of life [Perry et al., Sedimentary Geology, 201, 157-179], Sed Geol, Vol:213, ISSN:0037-0738, Pages:156-156

McLoughlin N, Brasier MD, Wacey D, et al., 2007, On biogenicity criteria for endolithic microborings on early earth and beyond, Astrobiology, Vol:7, ISSN:1531-1074, Pages:10-26

Perry RS, McLoughlin N, Lynne BY, et al., 2007, Defining biominerals and organominerals: direct and indirect indicators of life?, 2007, Sedimentary Geology 201, 157-179, Sedimentary Geology, Vol:201, Pages:157-169


Engel MH, Perry RS, 2008, The origins of amino acids in ancient terrestrial and extraterrestrial materials, Conference on Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XI, SPIE-INT SOC OPTICAL ENGINEERING, ISSN:0277-786X

Jiao D, Perry RS, Engel MH, et al., 2008, Biomarker indicators of bacterial activity and organic fluxes during end Triassic mass extinction event (art. no. 709709), Conference on Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XI, The International Society for Optical Engineering, Pages:1-12

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