The Right Honourable Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, FRS (born 23 June 1942) is a professor of astronomy. He has been Astronomer Royal since 1995, and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge since 2004.

Rees was educated at Shrewsbury School and Trinity College, Cambridge, and studied in the United States before taking a professorship at Sussex University. Returning to Cambridge, he held the post of Plumian Professor until 1991 and was director of the Institute of Astronomy there. From 1992 to 2003 he was Royal Society Research Professor, and from 2003 Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1979.

In a career that has seen him publish over 500 research papers, he has made important contributions in the origin of cosmic microwave background radiation, as well as galaxy clustering and formation. His studies of the distribution of quasars proved a strong argument against the steady state theory, and he was one of the first to propose that enormous black holes power the quasars. He is also a well-respected and popular publicist of astronomy and science in general.

On 29 March 2005, it was announced that he had been nominated as the next president of the Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science, and he is expected to take over the post in November 2005. His selection as a "people's peer" to sit as a crossbencher in the House of Lords was announced on 22 July 2005 and on 6 September he was created Baron Rees of Ludlow, of Ludlow in the County of Shropshire.



  • Heineman Prize (1984)
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1987)
  • Knighted (1992)
  • Bruce Medal (1993)
  • Bruno Rossi Prize (2000)
  • Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society (2004)
  • Royal Society's Michael Faraday Prize for science communication (2004)
  • Crafoord Prize, with James Gunn and James Peebles (2005)

Named after him

  • Asteroid 4587 Rees


  • Gribbin, John; Rees, Martin (1989) Cosmic Coincidences: Dark Matter, Mankind, and Anthropic Cosmology, Bantam. ISBN 0553347403
  • "New perspectives in astrophysical cosmology", 1995.
  • "Gravity's fatal attraction: black holes in the universe", 1995.
  • "Before the beginning - our universe and others", 1997.
  • "Just Six Numbers", 2000.
  • "Our Cosmic Habitat", 2001.
  • "Our Final Hour" (UK title: "Our Final Century"), 2003, ISBN 0465068626.
  • La lucciola e il riflettore, Di Renzo Editore, Roma, 2004


"Once the threshold is crossed when there is a self-sustaining level of life in space, then life's long-range future will be secure irrespective of any of the risks on Earth (with the single exception of the catastrophic destruction of space itself). Will this happen before our technical civilisation disintegrates, leaving this as a might-have-been? Will the self-sustaining space communities be established before a catastrophe sets back the prospect of any such enterprise, perhaps foreclosing it for ever? We live at what could be a defining moment for the cosmos, not just for our Earth." ~ Our Final Century by Martin Rees


Preceded by:
Sir Arnold Wolfendale
Astronomer Royal
1995 -“
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Amartya Sen
Master of Trinity College, Cambridge
2004 -
Succeeded by:

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