Professor Chris Lintott

Professor Lintott appointed Gresham Professor

Astronomy and astrophysics

Professor Chris Lintott has been appointed Gresham Professor of Astronomy, one of the college’s ten professorships that are filled by leaders and pioneers in a range of artistic fields.

Gresham College has been providing free, public lectures since 1597 when Sir Thomas Gresham founded the college to bring ‘new learning’ to Londoners, in English rather than Latin. Coupled with its accessibility, Gresham College also focused on subjects that many universities did not teach then, like astronomy and geometry - disciplines which had more explicit practical applications for navigation and trade. The Gresham astronomy professorship is one of the original chairs – along with professorships in divinity, geometry, music, law, physic and rhetoric.

Professor Lintott specialises in galaxy formation and machine learning, including anomaly detection. He helped to found the worldwide citizen science platform, Zooniverse, and is part of the collaboration building the Vera Rubin Observatory set to power the next astronomical revolution. He also presents the BBC’s Sky at Night.

Professor Lintott will hold the position for the next three years, delivering a series of free lectures each year. He joins Professor Myles Allen also from Oxford’s Department of Physics, who was appointed Frank Jackson Foundation Professor of the Environment last year; Professor Lintott replaces the incumbent Gresham Professor of Astronomy, Professor Katherine Blundell OBE, also from Oxford’s Department of Physics.

‘I am delighted to be appointed Professor of Astronomy at Gresham - following in the footsteps of people like Christopher Wren, whose buildings in Oxford I pass each morning!’ comments Professor Lintott. ‘I am looking forward to sharing the excitement of what is a golden age of astronomy with the broadest possible audience - online, as well as in London. I am hoping we can make some discoveries together too, via the Zooniverse.’

Professor Martin Elliott, Provost of Gresham Colleges comments: ‘An established, widely published and prize-winning academic with a background in astrophysics, he is also committed to citizen science which he carries out through the Galaxy Zoo and Zooniverse projects. We are privileged to have him join us and I have no doubt our audiences are in for a treat.’