Gresham Professor of Astronomy

Following in the footsteps of Sir Christopher Wren, recent Professors of Astronomy have delivered lectures on a range of topics ranging from cosmology to astrophysics.

Next lecture

Latest lecture

Current Professor

Gresham Professor of Astronomy and Outreach Officer at the Institute of Astronomy and Fellow of Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, Professor Carolin Crawford is one of Britain's foremost science communicators.

After receiving her PhD from Newnham College, Cambridge, Professor Crawford went on to a series of fellowships from Balliol College, Oxford, Trinity Hall, Cambridge and the Royal Society. In 2004 she was appointed as a Fellow and College...

Past professors

1 Edward Brerewood - 1596
2 Thomas Williams - 1613
3 Edmund Gunter - 1619
4 Henry Gellibrand - 1626
5 Samuel Foster - 1636
6 Mungo Murray - 1637
7 Samuel Foster - 1641
8 Lawrence Rooke - 1652
9 Sir Christopher Wren - 1657
10 Walter Pope - 1660
11 Daniel Man - 1687
12 Alexander Torriano - 1691
13 John Machin - 1713
14 William Romaine - 1751
15 William Cockayne - 1752
16 Peter Sandiford - 1795
17 Joseph Pullen - 1833
18 Edmund Ledger - 1875
19 Samuel Arthur Saunder - 1908
20 Arthur Robert Hinks - 1913
21 William Herbert Steavenson - 1946
22 Sir John Carroll - 1964
23 Sir Martin Ryle - 1968
24 Roger Tayler - 1969
25 Sir Lord Rees of Ludlow FRS - 1975
26 David W Dewhirst - 1976
27 Michael Rowan-Robinson - 1981
28 Andrew Fabian - 1982
29 Raymond Hide - 1984
30 Lord Porter of Luddenham OM FRS - 1990
31 Heather Couper FRAS - 1993
32 Colin Pillinger FRS - 1996
33 Frank Close OBE - 2000
34 John D Barrow FRS - 2003
35 Ian Morison - 2007
35 Carolin Crawford - 2011

All Gresham Professor of Astronomy lectures

Small Bodies of the Solar System Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 4 March 2015
The Early Universe Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 4 February 2015
The Sun, our Nearest Star Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 3 December 2014
The Transient Universe Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 26 November 2014
The Search for Dark Matter Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 22 October 2014
How the Earth Moves Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 2 April 2014
Echoes of the Big Bang Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 5 March 2014
The Lives of Stars Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 5 February 2014
Comets - Visitors from the frozen edge of the Solar System Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 20 November 2013
Quasars – the brightest black holes Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 23 October 2013
The Red Planet Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 25 September 2013
When Galaxies Collide... Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 17 April 2013
Exoplanets and how to find them Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 6 March 2013
The Age of the Universe Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 6 February 2013
Atmospheric Phenomena Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 5 December 2012
X-ray Astrophysics - The high energy cosmos Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 7 November 2012
Our nearest neighbour, the Moon Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 10 October 2012
Star Dust Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 13 June 2012
Large telescopes and why we need them Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 9 May 2012
Clusters of Galaxies Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 7 March 2012
Rotation in Space Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 1 February 2012
The Sounds of the Universe Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 23 November 2011
A voyage round Saturn, its rings and moons Professor Carolin Crawford Wednesday 2 November 2011
To Infinity and Beyond Professor Ian Morison Wednesday 13 April 2011
Hubble’s Heritage Professor Ian Morison Wednesday 23 February 2011
The Violent Universe Professor Ian Morison Wednesday 19 January 2011
Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe Professor Ian Morison Wednesday 15 December 2010
Voyages to the Outer Solar System Professor Ian Morison Wednesday 24 November 2010
Black Holes - No need to be afraid! Professor Ian Morison Wednesday 27 October 2010
The Afterglow of Creation Professor Ian Morison Thursday 15 April 2010
Life on Mars? Professor Ian Morison Thursday 18 February 2010
Wonders of the Southern Skies Professor Ian Morison Thursday 21 January 2010
Impact! Professor Ian Morison Thursday 17 December 2009
400 Years of the Telescope Professor Ian Morison Thursday 26 November 2009
The Search for Planet X Professor Ian Morison Thursday 22 October 2009
It’s about time Professor Ian Morison Thursday 19 March 2009
Harbingers of Doom? Professor Ian Morison Thursday 19 February 2009
The Search for Other Worlds Professor Ian Morison Thursday 22 January 2009
God and the Universe Professor Ian Morison Monday 1 December 2008
The Invisible Universe Professor Ian Morison Thursday 27 November 2008
Our 'Island Universe' Professor Ian Morison Thursday 30 October 2008
Ageing Stars Professor Ian Morison Thursday 2 October 2008
The Search for Extra-Terrestial Intelligence in the New Millennium Professor Ian Morison Thursday 3 April 2008
Proving Einstein right! Professor Ian Morison Thursday 21 February 2008
Beauty in the Heavens Professor Ian Morison Thursday 7 February 2008
50 years of the Lovell telescope Professor Ian Morison Wednesday 5 December 2007
Colour in the Cosmos Professor Ian Morison Thursday 15 November 2007
Watchers of the skies Professor Ian Morison Friday 26 October 2007
Where is everybody? Professor John D Barrow FRS Tuesday 20 February 2007
Cosmology of Ultimate Concern Professor John D Barrow FRS Tuesday 13 February 2007
The Origin of the Constellations Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 25 January 2007
The afterglow of the Big Bang Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 14 December 2006
Gravitational-Wave Astronomy Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 30 November 2006
The Early History of the Universe Professor John D Barrow FRS Tuesday 14 November 2006
Did Einstein get it right? Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 26 October 2006
Is the world simple or complicated? Professor John D Barrow FRS Wednesday 27 September 2006
Theories of everything Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 16 February 2006
Impossibility: The Limits of Science Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 26 January 2006
Time: A Guide for Travellers Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 12 January 2006
A Physicist looks at Sport Professor John D Barrow FRS Tuesday 25 October 2005
Einstein and the Universe Professor John D Barrow FRS Tuesday 18 October 2005
Infinity and beyond Professor John D Barrow FRS Tuesday 8 March 2005
Astronomy - Much ado about nothing Professor John D Barrow FRS Tuesday 1 February 2005
Life and the universe Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 20 January 2005
The Artful Universe Professor John D Barrow FRS Tuesday 14 December 2004
The once and future universe Professor John D Barrow FRS Tuesday 2 November 2004
What the universe is made of Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 21 October 2004
Is the universe simple or complicated? Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 22 April 2004
What is a black hole? Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 19 February 2004
Are there other dimensions? Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 22 January 2004
What are the constants of nature? Professor John D Barrow FRS Thursday 11 December 2003
Why is the universe so big? Professor John D Barrow FRS Tuesday 21 October 2003
Your questions answered... and your answers questioned! Part 2 Professor Frank Close Wednesday 16 April 2003
Your questions answered... and your answers questioned! Part 1 Professor Frank Close Tuesday 15 April 2003
Science Fiction or Science Fact? Professor Frank Close Thursday 12 December 2002
The First Three Minutes Professor Frank Close Tuesday 10 December 2002
HERA – Queen of the Electron Microscopes Professor Frank Close Friday 11 October 2002
Neutrinos in the Snow Professor Frank Close Wednesday 9 October 2002
The Particle Odyssey: Visions of the subatomic world Professor Frank Close Tuesday 8 October 2002
Bright Sparks of the Universe Professor Frank Close Wednesday 2 October 2002
Antihydrogen - First Element of the Antiuniverse Professor Frank Close Saturday 4 May 2002
Why do we live in three dimensions - or do we? Professor Frank Close Tuesday 9 April 2002
Could we destroy the Universe? Professor Frank Close Tuesday 19 March 2002
Neutrinos - Ghost Particles of the Universe Professor Frank Close Wednesday 13 March 2002
The Forces of Nature Professor Frank Close Tuesday 12 March 2002
What’s the Matter with Antimatter? Professor Frank Close Friday 4 May 2001
The Heart of the Matter Professor Frank Close Tuesday 3 April 2001
Its Done with Mirrors Professor Frank Close Tuesday 13 February 2001
A Giant Leap Professor Frank Close Tuesday 17 October 2000
Where will it all end? Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 4 February 2000
Millennium Special: The First Christmas Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 3 December 1999
Tunguska Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 5 November 1999
Climate Change Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 1 October 1999
What does it take to put a man on Mars? Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 5 March 1999
The Giant Planets Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 5 February 1999
Cosmic Dust Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 6 November 1998
Carbon Skeletons or Chemical Fossils Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 1 May 1998
Sojourning and Surveying on Mars Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 6 February 1998
Hairy Stars Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 5 December 1997
Death of the Dinosaurs: A geochemical who dunnit Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 7 November 1997
The Nature of Impacts and their Impact on Nature Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 3 October 1997
Water, Water, Everywhere Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 11 April 1997
Messages From The Deep Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 7 March 1997
How High the Moon? Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 7 February 1997
The Age and Composition of the Solar System Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 6 December 1996
Where do meteorites really come from? Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 22 November 1996
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Professor Colin Pillinger FRS Friday 25 October 1996
Is there anybody out there? Professor Heather Couper Friday 29 March 1996
Big Bang to Big Crunch Professor Heather Couper Friday 1 March 1996
Quasars and Exploding Galaxies Professor Heather Couper Friday 26 January 1996
How Big is Space? Professor Heather Couper Friday 17 November 1995
Exploring the Milky Way Professor Heather Couper Friday 20 October 1995
Black Holes: The End of Space and Time Professor Heather Couper Friday 17 February 1995
Supernova! What makes stars explode? Professor Heather Couper Friday 10 February 1995
Bears, Bulls and Airpumps: The Origin of the Constellations Professor Heather Couper Friday 3 February 1995
The Star of Bethlehem Professor Heather Couper Wednesday 14 December 1994
A Star is Born Professor Heather Couper Wednesday 30 November 1994
The Sky’s the Limit! Professor Heather Couper Wednesday 16 November 1994
Secrets of the Sun Professor Heather Couper Friday 4 March 1994
The Tale of Halley’s Comet Professor Heather Couper Friday 18 February 1994
The Solar System: The Search for Planet X Professor Heather Couper Friday 4 February 1994
Popular and Unpopular Science Sir George Porter OM FRS Tuesday 7 July 1987
Uranus' Eccentric Magnetic Field Professor Raymond Hide CBE FRS Tuesday 31 March 1987
Jupiter's Red Spot Professor Raymond Hide CBE FRS Tuesday 24 March 1987
Science Today and Science Then Professor Raymond Hide CBE FRS Wednesday 19 November 1986

Further information

Did you know... It was after a Gresham College astronomy lecture that the first ever meeting of The Royal Society took place?
Immediately following Sir Christopher Wren's lecture as Gresham Professor of Astronomy on the 28th November 1660, there was the first ever recorded meeting of The Royal Society. This is now the date celebrated as the founding of the Society. The report from this meeting reads:
"Memorandum November 28, 1660. These persons following according to the usual custom of most of them, met together at Gresham College to hear Mr Wren's lecture, viz. The Lord Brouncker, Mr Boyle, Mr Bruce, Sir Robert Moray, Sir Paule Neile, Dr Wilkins, Dr Goddard, Dr Petty, Mr Ball, Mr Rooke, Mr Wren, Mr Hill. And after the lecture was ended they did according to the usual manner, withdraw for mutual converse."

As a taster of what you could learn in an astronomy lecture at Gresham College, here is a short extract from a recent lecture by Professor Carolin Crawford:

This is an extract from the lecture The Sounds of the Universe, which took place in November 2011.