Lord Rees has been the Astronomer Royal since 1995 and was the President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010. Between 1975 and 1976, Lord Rees was the Gresham Professor of Astronomy.
Lord Rees read Maths at Trinity College, Cambridge and has taught at, amongst others, Sussex University, Imperial College London, the University of Leicester, Harvard and the University of Cambridge. Since 2005 he has sat in the House of Lords as a cross-bencher and became Baron Rees later that year.
Lord Rees' current research deals with cosmology and astrophysics, especially gamma ray bursts, galactic nuclei, black hole formation and radiative processes (including gravitational waves) and also cosmic structure formation, especially the early generation of stars and galaxies that formed at the end of the cosmic dark ages' more than 12 billion years ago relatively shortly after the "Big Bang". He has authored or co-authored about five hundred research papers. He has lectured, broadcast and written widely on science and policy, and is the author of seven books for a general readership.