Maeve Murphy Quinlan

Maeve Murphy Quinlan


I am a final year NERC DTP PhD student in the Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics, University of Leeds, researching the origin of pallasite meteorites and the nature of their parent body(/ies) using an interdisciplinary approach involving multi-scale modelling of thermal processes and analysis of meteorite samples. Pallasite meteorites comprise a mixture of olivine and Fe-Ni metal (and various minor phases), historically explained as relict core-mantle boundary samples from disrupted planetesimals. While this origin is under debate with many alternative hypotheses suggested, these samples do still represent a natural laboratory to study the behaviour of co-existing mantle-like and core-like material. In order to better understand the environment and context of the formation of these meteorites, I have taken a multi-scale approach: first, looking at the bigger picture and modelling the thermal evolution of the pallasite parent body; then, at the meso scale, investigating the processes in the region of metal and olivine mixing; and finally, integrating micro-scale evidence from samples (through SEM, EPMA and EBSD analysis) to model outputs to constrain the parameter space and test different formation hypotheses.

I’m interested in open science, reproducible modelling and developing open-source software. The source-code for our recently published study The Conductive Cooling of Planetesimals With Temperature-Dependent Properties is available on GitHub. We’ve also further developed this code to make it more modular and useful and have published it as a Python package, available on the Python Package Index with full documentation and examples available to make it easier to use.

I’ve worked extensively as a module assistant on a variety of courses, including maths and geophysics tutorials, geology practical sessions, and fieldwork, at both undergraduate and masters level. I also have experience designing and facilitating a range of planetary science themed outreach sessions, aimed at both the general public and specific school groups, in person and online. I’ve developed downloadable teaching materials for Space Hub Yorkshire (available here under “Planetary Systems”) and won an award for developing an outreach poster as part of a NERC Panorama online conference.

Pytesimal website | personal website | GitHub profile | ORCID profile

Research interests

  • Planetary science
  • Reproducible scientific software development and continuous integration
  • Geochemical analysis, including using SEM, EPMA, EBSD, LA-ICP-MS to investigate both terrestrial and planetary samples
  • Planetary science outreach


  • BA (Hons) Geology, first class, Trinity College Dublin

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics
  • Deep Earth
  • Planetary Exploration
  • Rocks, Melts and Fluids