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Path of a President

Martin Barstow, RAS President 2014–16.

How and why do you stand as RAS President? Martin Barstow, interviewed in 2014.

Martin Barstow, RAS President 2014–16, came into astronomy through a fascination with space and relishes being able to support the development of the subject and the people who practise it.

“It is a tremendous honour to have been elected president by the fellowship of the RAS. I want to continue developing the RAS to be more open, inclusive and outward-looking”. Martin grew up in the Apollo era; the enthusiasm for space exploration that prevailed in the 1960s and 70s led him to find out more by joining his local astronomy society. He took a physics degree as a way to become an astronomer; he works on high energy astronomy and is currently focusing on ultraviolet observations of hot white dwarfs, including those that are accreting rocky material from the debris of their planetary systems. 

But Martin is also interested in the success of the sciences supported by the RAS. “Astronomy and geophysics is one of the UK’s success stories. But how do we maintain the health of UK astronomy, geophysics and space science in this time of increasingly limited resources?” Martin has a few answers – ensure that researchers have a better career structure, encourage people from all backgrounds to play a role in science and demonstrate the value of ‘blue skies’ research as the starting point for scientists and ideas that underpin economic growth. 

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Dr Sue Bowler

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Dr Sue Bowler

Dr Sue Bowler is Editor of A&G and A&G Forum.

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