Graham Ryder (1949 – 2002) was born January 29, 1949 in Bridgenorth, Shropshire, England, and attended Bridgenorth Grammar School. After his A levels, Graham received a B.Sc. Science in geology from the University of Wales at Swansea in 1970. He then moved to Michigan State University, where he earned his Ph.D in 1974 on the origins of massif anorthosites. His post-doctoral work with Dr. John Wood at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory introduced him to lunar samples. After a short stint as a university lecturer, he returned to research and curation of lunar samples, first as a scientist in Lunar Curation at Johnson Space Center and then as a Staff Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (Houston, Texas) collaborating with Lunar Curation. Graham worked at the LPI, trading barbs with his close friend Paul Spudis, until his untimely death.

Graham’s great interest was the geological and geochemical evolution of the Moon, and he published widely on lunar petrology and chronology, especially of highlands (anorthositic) rocks and breccias. Graham wrote and co-wrote most of the Catalogs of (and guides to) Apollo samples, notably those for early non-mare materials (1978) and for Apollo 15, 16, and 17 (1980-1993). From those efforts, he became the ‘go-to’ expert on the Apollo collections. Graham’s interests broadened later to encompass the chronology and products of impact cratering on the Moon and elsewhere.

Dr. Ryder was a keen sponsor of, and participant in, scientific societies, conferences, and workshops. Graham was posthumously awarded the 2003 Barringer Medal for “… petrological, compositional and chronological investigations of lunar crustal rocks and impact melts …. [and] … authoritative constraints on the cataclysmic bombardment history of the early Moon and Earth, and he envisioned a link between collisional processes and the evolution of terrestrial life.” He is remembered in the Pellas-Ryder Award, for graduate students who are first author of a peer-reviewed paper in planetary science.