There have been Gresham Professors of Astronomy since the College was established, in 1597. Past Professors include the likes of Sir Christopher Wren, and more recent Professors have delivered lectures on a range of topics ranging from cosmology to astrophysics.

Current Professor
Past Professors

Professor Joseph Silk FRS

Gresham Professor of Astronomy, Joseph Silk FRS, is a research scientist  at the Service d’Astrophysique, CEA, Saclay and the Institut d’Astrophysique, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris,  Homewood Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and Senior Fellow in the Beecroft Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at the Department of Physics, University of Oxford. He is a leading expert on the early Universe, a Balzan Prize winner and one of the world’s most sought-after science communicators.

A graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, Professor Silk was a postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge and Princeton before joining the University of California, Berkeley, where he remained for the next three decades, eventually as Professor of Astronomy and Physics. He was Savilian Chair of Astronomy at the University of Oxford from 1999 to September 2011. He started his current positions of Professor of Physics and Astronomy with the Johns Hopkins University in 2010, and Professor of Physics at the Institut d’Astrophysique at UPMC in 2011.

Professor Silk is one of the world’s leading experts in theoretical cosmology, dark matter, galaxy formation and cosmic microwave background. He conducted important early work on homogeneities in the cosmic microwave background and how they are influenced by density fluctuations in the matter of the early universe, in particular by a damping effect that has become known as “Silk damping”. He has also made pioneering advances in understanding the nature of dark matter, and explored novel indirect methods for its detection which have inspired large-scale experiments with newly-developed telescopes. Professor Silk’s studies of galaxy formation and his work on the dynamics of mass loss and the feedback mechanisms from star formation and evolution formed a highly significant basis for subsequent work in this important field. In 2011 he won the Balzan Prize for this pioneering work on the infant universe.

Having delivered some of the most important invited astronomy lectures around the globe and with over 500 publications to his name, Professor Silk is one of the world’s foremost science communicators. His books include: The Big Bang, Horizons of Cosmology, The Infinite Cosmos, On the Shores of the Unknown, A Short History of the Universe and Cosmic Enigmas.

Appointed Gresham Professor of Astronomy in 2015, Professor Silk will deliver series of lectures, entitled The Biggest Questions in the Universe, on aspects of astronomy and cosmology which he believes will offer new insights into contemporary investigations into the nature of the Universe, its formation and phenomenon.

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Edward Brerewood (1596)
Thomas Williams (1613)
Edmund Gunter (1619)
Henry Gellibrand (1626)
Samuel Foster (1636)
Mungo Murray (1637)
Samuel Foster (1641)
Lawrence Rooke (1652)
Sir Christopher Wren (1657)
Walter Pope (1660)
Daniel Man (1687)
Alexander Torriano (1691)
John Machin (1713)
William Romaine (1751)
William Cockayne (1752)
Peter Sandiford (1795)
Joseph Pullen (1833)
Edmund Ledger (1875)
Samuel Arthur Saunder (1908)
Arthur Robert Hinks (1913)
William Herbert Steavenson (1946)
Sir John Carroll (1964)
Sir Martin Ryle (1968)
Roger Tayler (1969)
David W Dewhirst (1976)
Lord Porter of Luddenham OM FRS (1990)
All Professor of Astronomy Lectures
WATCHED
Part of a series

Observing the Dark Ages

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 5 April 2017 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The Accelerating Universe

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 1 March 2017 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Should We Trust a Theory?

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 1 February 2017 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The First Three Minutes of Creation

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 7 December 2016 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The Expanding Universe

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 26 October 2016 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Black Holes

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The Dark Side of the Universe

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 6 April 2016 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

How Common is Life in the Universe?

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 2 March 2016 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The Formation of our Galaxy

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 3 February 2016 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Galactic Archaeology

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 2 December 2015 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The First Stars

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 4 November 2015 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The Primordial Fireball

Professor Joseph Silk FRS
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The Next Big Questions

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 1 April 2015 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Small Bodies of the Solar System

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 4 March 2015 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Early Universe

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 4 February 2015 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Sun, our Nearest Star

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 3 December 2014 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Transient Universe

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Search for Dark Matter

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 - 1:00PM
WATCHED

Are We Alone? The search for life beyond the Earth

Professor Ian Morison
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

How the Earth Moves

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 2 April 2014 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Echoes of the Big Bang

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 5 March 2014 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The Lives of Stars

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 5 February 2014 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Comets - Visitors from the frozen edge of the Solar System

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Quasars – The Brightest Black Holes

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The Red Planet

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

When Galaxies Collide...

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Exoplanets and how to find them

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 6 March 2013 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The Age of the Universe

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 6 February 2013 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Atmospheric Phenomena

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 5 December 2012 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

X-ray Astrophysics - The high energy cosmos

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 7 November 2012 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Our nearest neighbour, the Moon

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Star Dust

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Large telescopes and why we need them

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 9 May 2012 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Clusters of Galaxies

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 7 March 2012 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Rotation in Space

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 1 February 2012 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The Sounds of the Universe

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

A voyage round Saturn, its rings and moons

Professor Carolin Crawford
Wednesday, 2 November 2011 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

To Infinity and Beyond

Professor Ian Morison
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Hubble’s Heritage

Professor Ian Morison
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

The Violent Universe

Professor Ian Morison
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 - 1:00PM
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Part of a series

Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe

Professor Ian Morison
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

Voyages to the Outer Solar System

Professor Ian Morison
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

Black Holes - No need to be afraid!

Professor Ian Morison
Wednesday, 27 October 2010 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

The Afterglow of Creation

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 15 April 2010 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

Life on Mars?

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 18 February 2010 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

Wonders of the Southern Skies

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 21 January 2010 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

Impact!

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 17 December 2009 - 12:00AM
WATCHED
Part of a series

400 Years of the Telescope

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 26 November 2009 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

The Search for Planet X

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 22 October 2009 - 12:00AM
WATCHED
Part of a series

It’s about time

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 19 March 2009 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Harbingers of Doom?

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 19 February 2009 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

The Search for Other Worlds

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 22 January 2009 - 1:00PM
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God and the Universe

Professor Ian Morison
Monday, 1 December 2008 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

The Invisible Universe

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 27 November 2008 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

Our 'Island Universe'

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 30 October 2008 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

Ageing Stars

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 2 October 2008 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

The Search for Extra-Terrestial Intelligence in the New Millennium

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 3 April 2008 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

Proving Einstein Right!

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 21 February 2008 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Beauty in the Heavens

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 7 February 2008 - 12:00AM
WATCHED
Part of a series

50 years of the Lovell telescope

Professor Ian Morison
Wednesday, 5 December 2007 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

Colour in the Cosmos

Professor Ian Morison
Thursday, 15 November 2007 - 12:00AM
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Part of a series

Watchers of the skies

Professor Ian Morison
Friday, 26 October 2007 - 12:00AM
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Where is everybody?

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Tuesday, 20 February 2007 - 1:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Cosmology of Ultimate Concern

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Tuesday, 13 February 2007 - 6:00PM
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The Origin of the Constellations

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Thursday, 25 January 2007 - 1:00PM
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The afterglow of the Big Bang

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Thursday, 14 December 2006 - 12:00AM
WATCHED

Gravitational-Wave Astronomy

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Thursday, 30 November 2006 - 12:00AM
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The Early History of the Universe

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Tuesday, 14 November 2006 - 12:00AM
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Did Einstein get it right?

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Wednesday, 25 October 2006 - 11:00PM
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Is the world simple or complicated?

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 - 12:00AM
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Theories of everything

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Thursday, 16 February 2006 - 12:00AM
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Impossibility: The Limits of Science

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Thursday, 26 January 2006 - 12:00AM
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Time: A Guide for Travellers

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Thursday, 12 January 2006 - 12:00AM
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A Physicist looks at Sport

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Tuesday, 25 October 2005 - 12:00AM
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Einstein and the Universe

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Tuesday, 18 October 2005 - 12:00AM
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Infinity and beyond

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Tuesday, 8 March 2005 - 12:00AM
WATCHED

Astronomy - Much ado about nothing

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Tuesday, 1 February 2005 - 12:00AM
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Life and the universe

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Thursday, 20 January 2005 - 12:00AM
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The Artful Universe

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Tuesday, 14 December 2004 - 12:00AM
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The once and future universe

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Tuesday, 2 November 2004 - 12:00AM
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What the universe is made of

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Thursday, 21 October 2004 - 12:00AM
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Is the universe simple or complicated?

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Thursday, 22 April 2004 - 12:00AM
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What is a black hole?

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Thursday, 19 February 2004 - 12:00AM
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Are there other dimensions?

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Thursday, 22 January 2004 - 12:00AM
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What are the constants of nature?

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Thursday, 11 December 2003 - 12:00AM
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Why is the Universe so big?

Professor John D Barrow FRS
Tuesday, 21 October 2003 - 12:00AM
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Your questions answered... and your answers questioned! Part 1

Professor Frank Close
Tuesday, 15 April 2003 - 12:00AM
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Your questions answered... and your answers questioned! Part 2

Professor Frank Close
Wednesday, 16 April 2003 - 12:00AM
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Science Fiction or Science Fact?

Professor Frank Close
Thursday, 12 December 2002 - 12:00AM
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The First Three Minutes

Professor Frank Close
Tuesday, 10 December 2002 - 12:00AM
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HERA – Queen of the Electron Microscopes

Professor Frank Close
Friday, 11 October 2002 - 12:00AM
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Neutrinos in the Snow

Professor Frank Close
Wednesday, 9 October 2002 - 12:00AM
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The Particle Odyssey: Visions of the subatomic world

Professor Frank Close
Tuesday, 8 October 2002 - 12:00AM
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Bright Sparks of the Universe

Professor Frank Close
Wednesday, 2 October 2002 - 12:00AM
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Antihydrogen - First Element of the Antiuniverse

Professor Frank Close
Saturday, 4 May 2002 - 12:00AM
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Why do we live in three dimensions - or do we?

Professor Frank Close
Tuesday, 9 April 2002 - 12:00AM
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Could we destroy the Universe?

Professor Frank Close
Tuesday, 19 March 2002 - 12:00AM
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Neutrinos - Ghost Particles of the Universe

Professor Frank Close
Wednesday, 13 March 2002 - 12:00AM
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The Forces of Nature

Professor Frank Close
Tuesday, 12 March 2002 - 12:00AM
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What’s the Matter with Antimatter?

Professor Frank Close
Friday, 4 May 2001 - 12:00AM
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The Heart of the Matter

Professor Frank Close
Tuesday, 3 April 2001 - 12:00AM
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Its Done with Mirrors

Professor Frank Close
Tuesday, 13 February 2001 - 12:00AM
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A Giant Leap

Professor Frank Close
Tuesday, 17 October 2000 - 12:00AM
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Where will it all end?

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 4 February 2000 - 12:00AM
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Millennium Special: The First Christmas

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 3 December 1999 - 12:00AM
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Tunguska

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 5 November 1999 - 12:00AM
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Climate Change

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 1 October 1999 - 12:00AM
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What does it take to put a man on Mars?

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 5 March 1999 - 12:00AM
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The Giant Planets

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 5 February 1999 - 12:00AM
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Cosmic Dust

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 6 November 1998 - 12:00AM
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Carbon Skeletons or Chemical Fossils

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 1 May 1998 - 6:00PM
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Sojourning and Surveying on Mars

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 6 February 1998 - 12:00AM
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Hairy Stars

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 5 December 1997 - 12:00AM
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Death of the Dinosaurs: A geochemical who dunnit

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 7 November 1997 - 12:00AM
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The Nature of Impacts and their Impact on Nature

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 3 October 1997 - 12:00AM
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Water, Water, Everywhere

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 11 April 1997 - 12:00AM
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Messages From The Deep

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 7 March 1997 - 12:00AM
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How High the Moon?

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 7 February 1997 - 12:00AM
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The Age and Composition of the Solar System

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 6 December 1996 - 6:00PM
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Where do meteorites really come from?

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 22 November 1996 - 12:00AM
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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Professor Colin Pillinger FRS
Friday, 25 October 1996 - 12:00AM
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Is there anybody out there?

Professor Heather Couper
Friday, 29 March 1996 - 12:00AM
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Big Bang to Big Crunch

Professor Heather Couper
Friday, 1 March 1996 - 12:00AM
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Quasars and Exploding Galaxies

Professor Heather Couper
Friday, 26 January 1996 - 12:00AM
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How Big is Space?

Professor Heather Couper
Friday, 17 November 1995 - 12:00AM
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Exploring the Milky Way

Professor Heather Couper
Friday, 20 October 1995 - 12:00AM
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Black Holes: The End of Space and Time

Professor Heather Couper
Friday, 17 February 1995 - 12:00AM
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Supernova! What makes stars explode?

Professor Heather Couper
Friday, 10 February 1995 - 12:00AM
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Bears, Bulls and Airpumps: The Origin of the Constellations

Professor Heather Couper
Friday, 3 February 1995 - 12:00AM
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The Star of Bethlehem

Professor Heather Couper
Wednesday, 14 December 1994 - 12:00AM
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A Star is Born

Professor Heather Couper
Wednesday, 30 November 1994 - 12:00AM
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The Sky’s the Limit!

Professor Heather Couper
Wednesday, 16 November 1994 - 12:00AM
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The Tale of Halley’s Comet

Professor Heather Couper
Friday, 18 February 1994 - 12:00AM
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Secrets of the Sun

Professor Heather Couper
Friday, 4 March 1994 - 12:00AM
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The Solar System: The Search for Planet X

Professor Heather Couper
Friday, 4 February 1994 - 12:00AM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Popular and Unpopular Science

Sir George Porter OM FRS
Tuesday, 7 July 1987 - 6:00PM
WATCHED

Uranus' Eccentric Magnetic Field

Professor Raymond Hide CBE FRS
Tuesday, 31 March 1987 - 12:00PM
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Jupiter's Red Spot

Professor Raymond Hide CBE FRS
Tuesday, 24 March 1987 - 1:00PM
WATCHED

Science Today and Science Then

Professor Raymond Hide CBE FRS
Wednesday, 19 November 1986 - 12:00AM
All Professor of Astronomy Series

The Biggest Questions in the Universe

Astronomy lectures by Carolin Crawford

Astronomy lectures by Ian Morison