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Martin Rees

Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge University

Martin Rees, the son of two teachers, was born 23 June 1942 in Shropshire. In 1963, he received the BA degree in mathematics from Trinity College of the University of Cambridge. He also received his MA and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge (1967). After studying at Cambridge, he did postdoctoral work at Caltech.

From 1967–1969, Dr. Rees was a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton (1969–1970); a senior research fellow, King’s College, Cambridge (1969–1972); a visiting associate professor at Caltech (1971); and a visiting professor at Harvard (1972 and 1988–1989). He was professor at Sussex University (1972–1973) and, from 1973–1991, Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at Cambridge. From 1992 to 2003, Dr Rees was Royal Society professor at Cambridge as well as an official fellow of King’s College.

Currently Dr Rees is professor of cosmology and astrophysics and master of Trinity College, Cambridge. From 2005–2010, he was president of the Royal Society, and since 1995, Astronomer Royal. Dr Rees is honorary professor at Imperial College London and Leicester University. His selection as a life peer to sit as a crossbencher in the House of Lords was announced on 22 July 2005; on 6 September, he was created Baron Rees of Ludlow, of Ludlow in the County of Shropshire.

Among his many honours and awards are the following: 1975, H. P. Robertson Award and Lectureship, National Academy of Science; 1982, Hopkins Prize, Cambridge Philosophical Society; 1989, Guthrie Medal and Prize, Institute of Physics; 1989, Karl Schwarzschild Award of Astronomisch Gesellschaft; 1991, Officer dans l’Order des Arts et des Lettres; 1998, Bower Prize and Award for Science, Franklin Institute; 2003, Einstein Award of World Cultural Council; 2004, Faraday Award (Royal Society); 2005, Life Peerage; 2005, Niels Bohr Medal (UNESCO), and 2011, the Templeton Prize.

In addition to his honours and awards, Professor Rees has delivered over sixty distinguished lectureships, including: 1972 Kelvin Lecturer (British Association), 1978 Halley Lecturer (Oxford), 1984 Clark Lecturer (Glasgow); 1998 Rutherford/Canada Lecturer (Royal Society); 1999 Pauli Lecturer (ETH, Zurich); 2004 Russell Lecturer (American Astronomical Society); 2005 Oppenheimer Lecturer (University of California, Berkeley); 2007 Gifford Lecturer (St Andrews), 2007 Rjiv Gandhi Lecturer (Bangalore).

Professor Rees is a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy and several other foreign academies.

Among Professor Rees’s publications are the following books: Cosmic Coincidences (UK title: The Stuff of the Universe) with J. Gribbin (1989); New Perspectives in Astrophysical Cosmology (2000); Before the Beginning—Our Universe and Others (1997); Gravity’s Fatal Attraction: Black Holes in the Universe (1995); Just Six Numbers (1999); Our Cosmic Habitat (2001); Our Final Century (US title: Our Final Hour) (2003); La Lucciola e il Rifletorre (in Italian only) (2004); Universe, editor (2005); What We Still Don’t Know (2007).

  • Larry Pullen