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Explorers of the Universe

19 Hydref 2010

Professor Derek Ward-ThompsonProfessor Derek Ward-Thompson

Leading University astronomers working to advance our knowledge of the Universe and help attract future generations to careers in science are featured in a unique photography exhibition.

"Explorers of the Universe" is a unique set of images by leading photographer Max Alexander - designed to reflect the character, fields of interest and expertise of both professional and amateur astronomers.

Professor Derek Ward-Thompson and Dr Haley Gomez, both astronomers from the School of Physics and Astronomy, are featured in the exhibition alongside such well-know figures as Professor Stephen Hawking, Astronomer Royal Lord Rees of Ludlow, Sir Patrick Moore, and many others.

Dr Gomez, School of Physics and Astronomy, said, "Max has really captured the personalities behind the big science questions with these photographs.

"It's great to show the public that astronomers are ordinary people from all walks of life, and above all passionate about what they do."

The exhibition will be officially unveiled on Saturday 23rd October at 1pm at the National Museum of Wales, where people will have an opportunity to hear from Max Alexander and University scientists about the exhibition and their work on the Herschel and Planck missions.

Dr Haley GomezDr Haley Gomez

‘Explorers of the Universe’ was commissioned for the International Year of Astronomy 2009, funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, and supported by the Royal Astronomical Society.

The collection brings out not only the very wide scope of ground-breaking astronomical research being pursued in the UK, a continuing legacy established by such historical figures as Sir Edmond Halley and Sir Isaac Newton, but also the valuable contributions being made by amateur enthusiasts.

Max Alexander is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and has had a lifelong interest in astronomy. He gained a Diploma in Astronomy at UCL between 2001 and 2003 as he pursued his lifelong interest in the subject. His interest in astronomy dates back to his childhood in New Zealand and grew after he witnessed the Northern Lights during an assignment in Northern Sweden.

Max Alexander said: "I hope that viewers will be enlightened and uplifted by this extraordinary, committed group of people, and what they discover about the Universe.

"Scientists need to have a higher profile in society if we want to advance our knowledge of the Universe and attract future generations to careers in science."

One of the members of the council who commissioned the photograph was Professor Mike Edmunds.

Professor Edmunds, School of Physics and Astronomy, said: "This exhibition is about the wonders of astronomy, and how the study of the Universe is still a very human endeavour. It echoes how all of us can be stimulated by curiosity about our cosmic environment. We hope the exhibition will both help inspire young people to take up careers in science and also boost public appreciation of, and support for, UK excellence in science and technology."

The images in the exhibition are available to view online at:

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