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Malcolm Longair

College positions:
Emeritus Fellow
Astrophysics, Physics
Cavendish Laboratory
Contact details:

Professor Malcolm Sim Longair

Malcolm Longair CBE FRS FRSE is Jacksonian Professor Emeritus of Natural Philosophy and Director of Development, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge.

Professor Longair was appointed the ninth Astronomer Royal of Scotland in 1980, as well as Regius Professor of Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, and the Director of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. He was head of the Cavendish Laboratory from 1997-2005, and has served on and chaired many international committees, boards and panels, working with both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). His main research interests are in high energy astrophysics, astrophysical cosmology and the history of physics and astrophysics. The third edition of his book Theoretical Concepts in Physics was published in 2020.

Professor Longair is currently working on the third edition of his book Galaxy Formation. He has continued to enhance the online digital archive of historic photographs illustrating the history of the Cavendish Laboratory. A major task is preparing for the move of the Cavendish Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments to the new Cavendish Laboratory in 2023. He is Editor-in-Chief of Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. He was President of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1996-98, and has been Chair of the International Advisory Committee of the Scottish Universities’ Physics Alliance (SUPA) from 2003-present.

Select publications

  • The Large, the Small and the Human Mind: R. Penrose, with A. Shimony, N. Cartwright and S.W. Hawking (ed. M.S. Longair) 1997. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Paperback edition, 1999, Clare Hall Tanner Lectures 1995
  • The Cosmic Century: A History of Astrophysics and Cosmology, 2006, Cambridge University Press
  • High Energy Astrophysics, 2011, 3rd edition, Cambridge University Press
  • Quantum Concepts in Physics, 2013, Cambridge University Press
  • Maxwell’s Enduring Legacy: A Scientific History of the Cavendish Laboratory, 2016, Cambridge University Press
  • The Oxford Handbook of the History of Modern Cosmology (co-editor with Helge Kragh), 2019, Oxford University Press
  • Theoretical Concepts in Physics, 3rd Edition, 2020, Cambridge University Press
  • Galaxy Formation, 2022, 3rd Edition. (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2nd edition)

Select awards

  • Honorary Doctor of Science Degrees from Dundee (1982), Edinburgh (2013) and St. Andrews (2017) universities
  • Honorary Fellow of the American Astronomical Society
  • Foreign Member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
  • Foreign Member of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti

Further links