University of Leicester Professor elected President of the Royal Astronomical Society

Posted by pt91 at May 17, 2013 10:10 AM |
Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Science and Engineering is second Leicester academic to assume the role

The Royal Astronomical Society has announced Professor Martin Barstow as its next President, one of the most prestigious roles in astronomy and following in the footsteps of Professor Ken Pounds who held the role from 1990 to 1992.

Professor Barstow was elected President in the 2013 RAS elections, the results of which were announced at the Annual General Meeting of the society on 10 May. He will assume the position, the leading representational role of the astronomy and geophysics community in the UK, in May 2014.

Martin Barstow is Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science in our Department of Physics and Astronomy, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of our College of Science and Engineering. His research interests are in white dwarfs, the local interstellar medium, and UV instrumentation. He is also involved in outreach and science policy, including serving on the STFC Council and advisory boards for the UK and European Space Agencies.

He has served on the RAS Council from 2005-2013, originally as a councillor and later as Astronomy Secretary.

As well as chairing the RAS council and its formal meetings, the President interacts with Government organisations, including the science ministerial team in BIS and the relevant research councils on behalf of astronomy and geophysics in the UK. They will also engage with other similar societies around the world and the International Astronomical Union.

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Barstow said:

"This is a great honour and I am proud to be taking on this role in the footsteps of many famous astronomers, including Sir William Herschel. I would like to feel that my election acknowledges not only my personal research but confidence in my ability to represent astronomy and geophysics in these difficult economic times.
"It’s a reflection of personal standing within the community, particularly as this was a contested election with two other candidates, something of a vote of confidence in my ability to provide this leadership.
"Hopefully this also reflects well on the department, of which I am a product, and will certainly be part of the esteem and recognition for the Research Excellence Framework. Similarly, it is good for the College and University to have people in such positions of influence, as it enhances our prestige in general.”

Professor Barstow will serve for one year as President Elect before succeeding the current President, Professor David Southwood, in May 2014.

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