Professor Lord Martin Rees

Subject: Astrophysics and cosmology

Contact details: mjr36@cam.ac.uk


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 from 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.

He 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. His awards include the Balzan Prize, the Bower Award for Science of the Franklin Institute, the Gruber Prize, the Crafoord Prize and the Templeton Prize.

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 are 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 Risks. His ten books include Just Six Numbers, Our Cosmic Habitat, Our Final Century, From here to Infinity (BBC Reith Letures) and the recently published, On the Future: Prospects for Humanity.