Meenakshi Wadhwa is a planetary scientist and educator interested in the time scales and processes involved in the formation and evolution of the Solar System and planets. Her research group is best known for developing novel methodologies for high precision isotope analyses and application of high-resolution chronometers for understanding 1) the time scales of events in the early Solar System (such as formation of the earliest solids, as well as accretion and differentiation of planetesimals and the terrestrial planets); 2) the processes occurring in the solar protoplanetary disk and on planetesimals; and 3) the abundance and origin of water and other volatiles on rocky bodies in the Solar System. She has hunted for meteorites in Antactica with the U.S. Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) program.
She received her doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at San Diego. She was subsequently Curator in the Department of Geology at the Field Museum in Chicago before moving to Arizona State University (ASU) as Professor in the School of Earth and Space Explortaion in 2006. At ASU, she served as director of the Center for Meteorite Studies from 2006 till 2019. In July of 2019, she was appointed as director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration.
She has served on numerous advisory committees for NASA and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. She was President of the Meteoritical Society in 2019-2020, and currently chairs the Science Committee of the NASA Advisory Council. She is a recipient of the Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award (2015), the Guggenheim Fellowship (2005) and the Nier Prize of the Meteoritical Society (2000). She was awarded an American Council on Education Fellowship (2018-2019) and became a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2019. She became a Geochemistry Fellow of the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry, and was awarded the J. Lawrence Smith Medal of the National Academy of Sciences in 2021. Asteroid 8356 has been named 8356 Wadhwa in recognition of her contributions to meteoritics and planetary science.