University of Leicester Professor to become next President of the Royal Astronomical Society

Posted by er134 at May 17, 2013 09:48 AM |
Head of the University’s College of Science and Engineering is to assume prestigious appointment

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 17 May 2013

Photograph of Professor Martin Barstow available from

The Royal Astronomical Society has appointed a University of Leicester space scientist as its next President, one of the most prestigious roles in astronomy.

Professor Martin 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 the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Leicester.

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.

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."

Professor Barstow is the second academic from the University of Leicester to be elected President of the RAS after Professor Ken Pounds, who held the role from 1990 to 1992.

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.

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


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Professor Martin Barstow on Work – 0116 2523492 or email -

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