Skip to main content Skip to footer

Martin Rees

College positions:
Honorary Fellow
Astrophysics, Cosmology
Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, House of Lords, The Royal Society, Trinity College, Cambridge
Contact details:

Professor Lord Martin Rees

Martin Rees is the UK’s Astronomer Royal. He is based at Cambridge University where he is a Fellow (and Former Master) of Trinity College. He is a ‘crossbencher’ in the House of Lords and was President of the Royal Society for the period 2005-10.

He obtained his MA and PhD at Cambridge and then held Research Fellowships and short-term posts in the US before becoming a professor at Sussex University. He then returned to Cambridge, where he was Professor of Astronomy, and for 9 years Director of the Institute of Astronomy. His research interests are in cosmology, relativistic astrophysics, galaxy formation and space science.

Professor Lord Rees is a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy, the Japan Academy and several other foreign academies and has honorary degrees from numerous universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale.

In addition to his research publications, he has written extensively for a general readership. He has been increasingly concerned about long-term global issues – the pressures that a growing and more demanding population is placing on environment, sustainability and biodiversity; and the impact of powerful new technologies. He is co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.

Professor Lord Rees’ ten books include Just Six Numbers; Our Cosmic Habitat; Our Final Century; From here to Infinity (BBC Reith Letures); On the Future: Prospects for Humanity; The End of Astronauts (with D Goldsmith); and If Science is to Save Us, to be published in September 2022.

Select awards and lectures

  • Bakerian Medal and Lecture, on ‘Galaxies and their nuclei’
  • Balzan Prize, For high energy astrophysics
  • Blackett and Jagdish Chandra Bose Memorial Lectures, on ‘Our final century- will civilisation survive?’
  • Crafoord Prize, in the field of Astronomy, for understanding the large-scale structure of the Universe
  • Michael Faraday Prize and Lecture, on ‘Einstein’s legacy as a scientist and icon’
  • Rutherford Memorial Lecture given in New Zealand
  • UK-Canada Rutherford Lecture, on ‘The mystery of gamma-ray bursts’

Further links