Charlotte Bays

Charlotte Bays


My specialist areas are Geology and Planetary science, with my research interests including astromaterials and meteoritics, cosmochemistry, metamorphism, and astrobiology. My postgraduate research primarily focuses on extremely primitive extraterrestrial materials, including organic matter and water, and the way in which these change when subjected to heat. This allows us to extrapolate information about the primitive solar system environment and composition.

I hold a BSc in Geology (First Class Honours, accredited by the Geological Society) from Birkbeck, University of London. My undergraduate research centered around terestrial impact ejecta deposits with my thesis entitled: ‘Ejecta deposits of Kilchrist, Isle of Skye: Geochemical, mineralogical, and structural evidence for volcanic and impact derived materials and processes’. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I worked during the day and attended lectures in the evenings, whilst also undertaking extracurricular research projects with various academics and industry professionals.

I belong to the Earth Sciences Department at Royal Holloway,  University of London, as well as the Planetary Materials Group, and Meteoritics Group, at the Natural History Museum, London, where I am also part of the Winchcombe Meteorite Coarse-grained Analysis Team.

The Winchcombe meteorite:

I am passionate about public outreach within STEM subjects and an advocate for equality and diversity within STEM careers.

Charlotte Bays

PhD title: Understanding the Effects of Thermal Metamorphism on the Water and Organic Contents of Primitive Carbonaceous Chondrites

My PhD focuses on the effects of thermal metamorphism on the organic/inorganic components and water within primitive carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, which contain some of the first materials to form in our solar system approximately 4.6 billion years ago.

I will be travelling to Japan to work alongside JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) scientists and academics from Tohoku University, to conduct experimental heating procedures on various samples. This study offers crucial insights into the ongoing sample-return missions, Hayabusa2 (JAXA) and OSIRIS-REx (NASA), which have sampled heated asteroids, with supervisors being on the sample analysis teams.

Hayabusa2: &


Analytical techniques such as X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), infrared, Raman spectroscopy, nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS), and X-ray absorption near edge structure ((XANES) at the UK’s national synchrotron science facility, Diamond Light Source at Harwell), will be used to collect data on the mineralogy, chemical, isotopic and organic compositions of various samples.


    Drake, S. M., Brown, D. J., Beard, A. D., Kumlertsakul. P., Thompson, D. J., Bays, C. L., Millar, I. L., K., M., Goodenough (Submitted). Catastrophic caldera-forming eruptions and climate perturbations: the result of tectonic and magmatic controls on the Paleocene-Eocene Kilchrist Caldera, Isle of Skye, NW Scotland, Volcanica.

    Dobson. D., Bays, C.L., (in preparation), Physically jammed pseudotachylite-hosted breccias, Journal of Structural Geology.


  • 2019) Paneth Meteorite Trust Award (Royal Astronomical Society - £1,900) for the project entitled, ‘The electron microprobe identification of impact derived exotic mineral phases in the Isle of Skye meteorite ejecta layer’.


  • Downes, H., Bays, C. L., Thompson, J. T., (2021) ‘Lanzarote (Canary Islands) as an analog for a virtual rover mission’ (Abstract and Poster), Terrestrial Analogs for Planetary Exploration Workshop, Lunar and Planetary Institute/USRA.

Awards and Prizes

(2021) Aleksander Silberfeld Prize for most distinguished performance (Geology) in the Faculty of Sciences.

Other Information


(2017-2020) President, Birkbeck Society for Geology and Planetary Science

(2017-2021) Student Representative, Earth and Planetary Science Department, Birkbeck, University of London


Outreach and public engagement:

STEM Ambassador and Outreach Volunteer


The Winchcombe Meteorite


Higher-education teaching:

Demonstrator at Royal Holloway, University of London (field-/laboratory-based):