Professor Katherine Blundell OBE

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE

  • Professor of Astronomy (2019 - )

Katherine was appointed Gresham Professor of Astronomy in 2019. She is a Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford University and a Research Fellow at St John's College. Before this she was one of the Royal Society's University Research Fellows, a Research Fellow of the 1851 Royal Commission, and a Junior Research Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford.

Her research interests include the evolution of active galaxies and their life cycles, the accretion of material near black holes and the launch and propagation of relativistic jets  (jets of plasma emitted by some black holes). In her research she uses electromagnetic imaging and spectroscopy, as well as computational techniques. 

She is also a renowned science communicator and set up a worldwide network of five schools-based Global Jet Watch observatories, which collect data on evolving black hole systems and nova explosions in our Galaxy, helping to inspire the next generation of scientists in South Africa, Chile, Australia and India. 

Her awards include a Philip Leverhulme Prize in Astrophysics, the Royal Society's Rosalind Franklin Medal in 2010, the Institute of Physics Bragg Medal in 2012, the Royal Astronomical Society's Darwin Lectureship in 2015 and an OBE for services to astronomy and the education of young people in 2017.

Blundell's first lecture series for Gresham College is called Cosmic Concepts, starting 2 October 2019, and she will be looking at how concepts developed in physics and cosmology have led to some of our most surprising discoveries about the Universe. 

Past Astronomy Professors

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)
Sir Lord Rees of Ludlow FRS (1975)
David W Dewhirst (1976)
Michael Rowan-Robinson (1981)
Andrew Fabian (1982)
Raymond Hide (1984)
Lord Porter of Luddenham OM FRS (1990)
Heather Couper FRAS (1993)
Colin Pillinger FRS (1996)
Frank Close OBE (2000)
John D Barrow FRS (2003)
Ian Morison (2007)
Carolin Crawford (2011)
Joseph Silk (2015)
Katherine Blundell OBE (2019)

Find out more about our Professors in Our History section.