Meteorites provide us with laboratory samples from distant bodies including asteroids, comets, the moon, Mars and even ancient stars. Witnesses to the extraordinary event when one is seen to fall from the sky, or anyone finding a sample on the ground, also have a story to tell. It's a potent mix for science communication, not just by scientists but to scientists.
Professor Colin Pillinger was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize in recognition of his excellence in communicating science.
Colin Pillinger is Professor of Planetary Sciences at the Open University. His research interests include designing unique instruments to analyse extraterrestrial samples. During his forty year career he has made more than a thousand contributions to scientific literature, and also found time to be one of Britain's foremost science communicators, contributing dozens of popular articles in newspapers and magazines as well as giving hundreds of public lectures. After analysing a number of meteorites from Mars and finding tantalising evidence of the existence of life there, he conceived the Beagle 2 mission to land on the Red Planet to confirm his discoveries. Throughout the project he filled over thirty notebooks recording the daily happenings which form the basis of his autobiographical account of the mission - "My life on Mars".