Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Martin J. Rees
University of Cambridge


"For very many contributions to our understanding of the universe and its high-energy contents, including quasars, pulsars, and black holes; and for broadly sharing knowledge of these in media presentations, lectures, and technical and informal writing."


Martin J. Rees, Ph.D., OM, FRS, FREng, FMedSci, is the U. K.’s Astronomer Royal, and was until recently, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. In 2005, he was appointed to the House of Lords, and was President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010. After completing his B.A. in 1963 and his Ph.D. in 1967, both at Cambridge, at Dr. Rees held postdoctoral positions in the U.K. and the U.S., before becoming a professor at University of Sussex. In 1973, he became Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at Cambridge and served for ten years as director of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy. From 1992 to 2003 he was a Royal Society Research Professor. Dr. Rees is a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy, and several other foreign academies. His international awards include the Balzan Prize, the Bower Award for Science of the Franklin Institute, the Cosmology Prize of the Peter Gruber Foundation, the Einstein Award of the World Cultural Council, the Royal Swedish Academy’s Crafoord Prize, the Newton Prize of the Institute of Physics , and the Dirac Prize International Centre for Theoretical Physics. He is currently on the board of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and has served on many bodies connected with education, space research, arms control, and international collaboration in science. Dr. Rees’s research has focused on high energy astrophysics, galaxy formation, and general cosmology. In addition to his research papers, he is the author of many general articles, and eight books, six of which are for general readership.

Selection Committee:

2017 Selection Committee Members: Laura H. Greene (Chair), Nicholas P Bigelow, James Robert Chelikowsky, Mark D. Ediger, Cary B. Forest, Miriam A. Forman, Giulia Galli, Timothy James Gay, Wick C. Haxton, Ann Renee Karagozian, John Bradley Marston, Amy Mullin, Jose N. Onuchic, Thomas Roser, Philip Michael Tuts, Johanna Barbara Stachel (Chair-appointed Committee Member)