Martin Rees is a British cosmologist and astrophysicist. He has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 and was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge from 2004 to 2012 and President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010.
After holding postdoctoral 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. Further, he holds visiting professorships at Imperial College London and the University of Leicester. He is a fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge. And an Honorary Fellow of King’s College, Clare Hall, and Jesus College, Cambridge.
Similarly, Rees is the author of more than 500 research papers. And he has made 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 the final disproof of steady-state theory.
Likewise, he was one of the first to propose that enormous black holes power quasars. And that superluminal astronomical observations can be explained as an optical illusion caused by an object moving part in the direction of the observer.
He has been President of the Royal Astronomical Society (since 1992–94) and the British Association (1995–96). Similarly, he was a Member of Council of the Royal Institution of Great Britain until 2010. Moreover, Rees has received honorary degrees from a number of universities including Hull, Sussex, Uppsala, Toronto. Similarly, Durham, Oxford, Yale, Melbourne and Sydney. He belongs to several foreign academies, including the US National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences. Likewise, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Science Academy of Turkey and the Japan Academy. He became President of the Royal Society on 1 December 2005. And continued until the end of the Society’s 350th Anniversary Celebrations in 2010.
Rees married the anthropologist Caroline Humphrey in 1986. He is an atheist but has criticised militant atheists for being too hostile to religion. Further, he is a member of the Labour Party.
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