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Lord (Martin) Rees of Ludlow

Astronomer Royal

Cambridge affiliations

  • PhD Mathematics, Trinity College (1960)
  • Master of Trinity College (2004-2012)

Professional history

After holding post-doctoral research positions in the United Kingdom and the United States, he taught at Sussex University and the University of Cambridge, where he was the Plumian Professor until 1991, and the director of the Institute of Astronomy.

From 1992 to 2003, he was Royal Society Research Professor, and from 2003 Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics. He was Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College, London, in 1975 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1979.

Lord Rees has been President of the Royal Astronomical Society (1992-1994) and the British Association (1995-1996), and was a Member of Council of the Royal Institution of Great Britain until 2010. He is the author of more than 500 research papers, and he has made important contributions to the origin of cosmic microwave background radiation, as well as to galaxy clustering and formation. His studies of the distribution of quasars led to final disproof of Steady State theory.

In recent years, Lord Rees has worked on gamma-ray bursts, especially in collaboration with Peter Mészáros, and on how the "cosmic dark ages" ended when the first stars formed.

Lord Rees is an author of books on astronomy and science intended for the lay public and gives many public lectures and broadcasts.

Society & charity work

Lord Rees is a member of the Board of the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, the IPPR, the Oxford Martin School and the Gates Cambridge Trust. He is a co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Future of Life Institute. He has formerly been a Trustee of the British Museum and the Science Museum. He is a foreign member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy, the Pontifical Academy, the Japan Academy and several other academies around the world.

Martin Rees