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Dr Diane Johnson

Profile summary

  • Visiting Informal Academic
  • Honorary Associate
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Physical Sciences
  • diane.johnson

Professional biography

Post Doctoral Research Associate, Open University, 2014- present.
Project Officer FIBSEM, Open University, 2008- present.
Assistant Meteorite Curator, Open University, 2008-present.
Post Doctoral Research Associate in Analytical Electron Microscopy, Open University, 2005- 2008.
Member of the Meteoritical Society, 1999
Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society (FRMS), 2009
Fellow of the Geological Society (FGS), 1999


Research interests

I am interested in the application of non-destructive high resolution imaging and analysis techniques to rare and precious materials. By employing a range of in-situ, non-destructive or minimally destructive methods samples can be subject to rigorous analysis but also preserved for future study.
- Analysis of ancient materials
- Application of FIBSEM to precious meteoritical and geological materials
- Milling and extraction methods in the production of TEM wafers using FIBSEM
- 3D sample analysis
- In-situ analysis techniques
- Novel applications of high resolution microscopy
- Pallasites, iron meteorites and evidence of parent body processing
- Classification and study of newly discovered meteorites
A selection of conference and meeting presentations:
1st Sept 2013 Essex Egyptology Group,  Meteorites in ancient Egypt, an invited 90 minute lecture.
19th April 2013 The Royal Society, a public history of science lecture,  Iron from the Sky: the potential influence of meteorites on ancient Egyptian culture, invited lecture, watch it here:
29th-30th Aug 2012 Palaeopathology in Egypt and Nubia: A Century in Review, Natural History Museum, London, UK, D. Johnson, M.M Grady, T. Lowe and J. Tyldesley, Microstructural analysis of a predynastic iron meteorite bead, lecture.
14th Dec 2011 Society of Electron Microscope Technology, one day meeting, A FIBSEM subsurface glimpse of evolution, invited lecture.
14th Sept 2011 Cultural Herritage meets science: the interface (IOP), Mary Rose Trust, Portsmouth, Johnson D, Grady M M, Lowe T, Tyldesley J, A compositional and structural study of an ancient Egyptian iron meteorite bead, Johnson D, Grady MM, FIBSEM analysis of subsurface structure and chemistry within materials of cultural herritage, poster presentations.
8th-12th Aug 2011 74th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, Greenwich, UK,  Johnson D, Grady MM, Tyldesley J, Gerzeh a prehistoric Egyptian meteorite, lecture.
15th June 2011 MIDSEM users group, University of Birmingham,UK, Applications of FIBSEM to Geology and Archaeology, invited lecture.
9th- 10th Sept 2010 SEM2010, The British Museum, London,UK, Johnson D, Kearns S, Grady MM, Subsurface analysis by application of FIBSEM to samples of geological and historical importance, lecture.
Selection of papers and abstracts:
Johnson D., Tyldesley J., Lowe T, Withers P.J. , Grady.M.M  Analysis of a prehistoric Egyptian iron bead with implications for the use and perception of meteorite iron in ancient Egypt, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 48, 6, 997-1006
Pillinger C.T., Greenwood R.C., Johnson D., Gibson J.M., Tindle A.G., Verchovsky A.B., Buikin A.I., Franchi I.A., Grady M.M. (2013) Light element geochemistry of the Chelyabinsk meteorite. Geokhimiya, 51, 7, 599-608
Johnson D., Tindle A.G. (2013) A Virtual Microscope through time progress report, Infocus magazine, the proceedings of the Royal Microscopical Society, 30, 60-66.
Johnson D., Kearns S.L., Grady M. M. (2012). Subsurface analysis by application of FIB-SEM to samples of geological and historical importance. In: Meeks, Nigel; Cartwright, Caroline; Meek, Andrew and Mongiatti, Aude eds. Historical Technology, Materials and Conservation: SEM and Microanalysis. London: Archetype Publications, 56–61.
Johnson D,; Grady.M.M.; Tyldesley J. (2011). Gerzeh, a prehistoric Egyptian meteorite. 74th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, 8-12th Aug 2011, London, UK.
Pillinger CT, Pillinger JM, Greenwood RC, Johnson D, Tindle AJ, Jull TAJ, Allen DWH, The Danebury Iron age meteorite,Gerzeh, a prehistoric Egyptian meteorite. 74th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, 8-12th Aug 2011, London, UK.
Needham AW, Starkey NA, Johnson D, Tomkinson T, Guillermier C, Abel D, Franchi IA, Grady MM, Origin and composition of carbonates, sulphates and halite on Mars, 74th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, 8-12th Aug 2011, London, UK
Johnson, Diane (Dec 2010). SEM2010 Report, Proceedings of the Royal Microscopical Society infocus magazine, Is 20, p74.
Johnson, Diane; Rogers, Nick and Grady, Monica (2010). Trace element distributions in the main group pallasites. In: 73rd Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, 26-30 July 2010, New York City, USA.
Zhang, Fucheng; Kearns, Stuart L.; Orr, Patrick J.; Benton, Michael J.; Zhou, Zhonghe; Johnson, Diane; Xu, Xing and Wang, Xiaolin (2010). Fossilized melanosomes and the colour of Cretaceous dinosaurs and birds. Nature, 463(7284), p. 1075.
Cockell C.S., Van Calsteren P., Mosselmans J.F.W., Franchi I.A., Gilmour I., Kellt L., Olsson-Francis K., Johnson D. (2010) Microbial endolithic colonization and the geochemical environment in young seafloor basalts, Chemical Geology, 279, 1-2, 17-30.
Johnson, Diane and Grady, Monica (2009). Structure and chemistry of pre-cursor troilite in pallasites. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 44(Suppl.), A102
Greenwood, R. C.; Haack, H.; Buchanan, P. C.; Franchi, I. A.; Smith, C. L.; Johnson, D. and Burbine, T. H. (2009). Searching for the missing mantles of disrupted asteroids: Evidence from an olivine-rich clast in the Vaca Muerta Mesosiderite. In: 40th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 23-27 March 2009, Houston, Texas.
Johnson, Diane; Rahman, Imran and Grady, Monica (2008). X-Ray Microtomography of A Sulphide Rich Pallasite. In: 71st Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society 2008, 28 July - 01 Aug 2008, Matsue, Japan.
Anand, M.; James, S.; Greenwood, R. C.; Johnson, D.; Franchi, I. A. and Grady, M. M. (2008). Mineralogy and Geochemistry of Shergottite RBT 04262. In: 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (Lunar and Planetary Science XXXIX), 10-14 March 2008, League City, Texas, USA.
Johnson, D.; Hutchison R.; Grady, M.M. (2007). Implications of sulphide distributions in the main group pallasites. In 70th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society 2007, 13 Aug - 17 Aug 2007, Tucson, Arizona, USA.
Davidson, J.; Genge, M. J.; Mills, A. A.; Johnson, D. and Grady, M. (2007). Ancient Cosmic Dust from Triassic Halite. In: 38th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 12-16 March 2007, Houston, Texas, USA.
Greenwood, R. C.; Pearson, V. K.; Verchovsky, A. B.; Johnson, D.; Franchi, I. A.; Roaldset, E.; Raade, G. and Bartoschewitz, R. (2007). The Moss (CO3) meteorite: an integrated isotopic, organic and mineralogical study. In: 38th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVIII), 12-16 March 2007, Houston, Texas.
Fernandes, C. D.; Johnson, D.; Bridges, J. C. and Grady, M. (2006). UV-Vis spectroscopy of stardust. International Journal of Astrobiology, 5(4), pp. 287–293.
Grady, Monica M.; Morlok, A.; Fernandes, C. and Johnson, D. (2006). Spectroscopy of Stardust from 200nm to 16µM (with a gap in the middle). In: 37th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 13-17 March 2006, Houston, Texas, USA.
Johnson, D.; Hutchison, R. and Grady, M. M. (2006). Textural evidence for melt processes on the pallasite parent body. In: 69th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, 6-11 August 2006, Zurich, Switzerland.
Johnson, D.; Hutchison, R.; Kirk, C. and Grady, M. M. (2006). Hambleton - a new sulphur rich pallasite. In: 69th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, 6-11 August 2006, Zurich, Switzerland.
Media interest in my research:

Teaching interests

Critical reader for S240 Analytical science: health, heritage and environments

Research Activity

Externally funded projects

The “iron” Bones of Seth; a study of the massive funerary fossil collection from Qau el-Kebir

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/May/201611/Sep/2017EES Egypt Exploration Society
Massive numbers of fossil bones were excavated from a burial shaft in Middle Egypt at the Qau el-Kebir cemetery, 1924. The excavators Flinders Petrie and Guy Brunton interpreted them as ritual offerings to the ancient Egyptian god Seth. As this area of Egypt was an ancient cult centre for Seth who was frequently depicted in artwork as a hippopotamus and the many hippopotamus fossils within the collection were obvious links. Considered important, many of the fossils were sent to the UK for further study, but a variety of practical issues obstructed their examination, with time records detailing their location were lost. This project will for the first time perform detailed scientifically analysis of the fossil collection to develop an understanding of its origins and potential ancient functions. This project is in partnership with the Natural History Museum, London and is funded by the Egypt Exploration Society.

Iron from the sky; a materials science and cultural study of ancient Egyptian iron

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Oct/201430/Sep/2015AHRC Arts & Humanities Research Council
An science and humanities investigation of Egyptian iron, its symbolism, practical application and influence. Incorporating surveys and analysis of iron artefacts and related materials from museum collections, early text references to iron. This study will involve a partnership with Cardiff University Archaeology Department.

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