ASE is pleased to welcome one of Science's most influential figures, Professor Martin Rees, Lord Rees of Ludlow as its' new President for 2013. ASE are delighted that Lord Rees has agreed to take on the ASE Presidency for the 50th Anniversary Year.
Professor Martin Rees, Lord Rees of Ludlow Martin Rees read mathematics at Trinity College. Subsequently, he became a graduate student working on pioneering ideas relating to newly-discovered phenomena such as quasars, obtaining his PhD in 1967. After postdoctoral and visiting fellowships at Caltech, Princeton and Harvard, a post as Assistant Director of Research at Cambridge, and a period as professor at Sussex University, he succeeded Sir Fred Hoyle as Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at Cambridge in 1973. He held this post for 18 years and, for ten of those years, was also Director of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy. Lord Rees ceased being Director of the Institute of Astronomy (and Plumian Professor) in 1992, when he was appointed to a Royal Society Research Professorship, which he held until 2003: he was President of the Royal Astronomical Society (1992-94), and of the British Association (1995-6). In 1995, he was appointed Astronomer Royal and in 2002 Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics. He is now a Fellow of Trinity College, having just completed an eight-year term as Master. He is involved in various projects in Cambridge, including the newly-established Centre for Science and Policy, and welcomes the involvement in ASE as a way to engage further with educational issues. In 2005, he was elected to a five-year term as President of the Royal Society. His final year in office coincided with the Society’s 350th anniversary, during which a special effort was made to extend its outreach and educational links. He is also a crossbencher in the House of Lords, and serves on its Science and Technology Committee. In 2007, he was appointed by the Queen to the Order of Merit. Lord Rees has held many visiting professorships (including Berkeley, Caltech, Harvard, Kyoto, Leiden, and the Smithsonian Institution); in the UK, he is a visiting professor at Imperial College, London and at Leicester University. He has given many special lectures in Europe, the US and Japan; and received numerous honours. As well as being a Fellow of the Royal Society (since 1979), he belongs to the US National Academy of Sciences, The American Philosophical Society, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy, and several other academies. He has always been an enthusiast for international collaboration in science, and has fostered this not only by his individual efforts, but also through membership of numerous advisory bodies and committees, especially in Europe.
Despite his energetic prime commitment to astronomy and astrophysics, Lord Rees has for many years been prominent in advisory and committee roles concerned with science in a broader sense. He has organised many recent conferences and workshops, and has been involved in the Physics Olympiad, Mathematics Millennium Project, and other projects connected with education and outreach. He is very concerned to prevent the erosion of Europe’s standing and traditions in science. He has broad cultural interests beyond science, serving (or having served), for instance, on the Board of Trustees of the British Museum, NESTA, the Science Museum, the Gates Trust, the Kennedy Memorial Trust (UK), the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, and the Institute for Public Policy Research. He has lectured widely, and is regularly interviewed on scientific topics by radio and TV. In addition to over 500 research articles, he has written dozens of ‘popular’ articles on astronomy, and seven books for a general readership. He has also contributed to the media on more general scientific and educational themes and spoken in many public forums. He has always been interested in the philosophical and social implications of his work. He gave the BBC Reith Lectures in 2010, and his most recent book, From Here to Infinity – Scientific Horizons, is an expanded version of the themes of these lectures.