Chris Lintott

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Christopher John Lintott
Chris Lintot SIUE.jpg
Born 1980 (age 33–34)
Torbay[citation needed]
Citizenship British
Institutions University of Oxford
University College London
Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
University of Cambridge
Alma mater Magdalene College, Cambridge
Doctoral advisor Ofer Lahav.[1]
Jonathan Rawlings.[1]
Known for The Sky at Night
Galaxy Zoo
Notable awards Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize (2014)
Lintott homepage

Christopher John Lintott (born 1980) is an English Professor of Astrophysics and Citizen Science lead in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford.[2][3] Lintott is involved in a number of popular science projects aimed at bringing astronomy to a wider audience. He is the primary presenter of the BBC series The Sky at Night, having previously been co-presenter with Patrick Moore until Moore's death in 2012. Lintott is also a co-author of the book Bang! – The Complete History of the Universe with Patrick Moore and Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May.[4][5]

Academic background & Current activities[edit]

Lintott attended Torquay Boys' Grammar School in Devon. In 1999, while still at school, he won a $500 Earth and Space Sciences award and the Priscilla and Bart Bok Honorable Mention Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for an article on 'Cosmic dust Around Young stellar objects'.[citation needed] This came from a six-week project at the University of Hertfordshire funded by a Nuffield bursary.

Lintott read Natural Sciences at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge and received a PhD in astrophysics from University College London, his thesis being on the subject of star formation. He is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and was formerly a Fulford junior research fellow at Somerville College between 2006 and 2010.[6][7]

Lintott is currently co-director of the Programme on Computational Cosmology and Citizen Science Project Lead in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford,[3][8] and a Research Fellow of New College.[9] He was the Director of Citizen Science Initiatives at the Adler Planetarium from 2010 until 2012.[10]

His research focuses on galaxy evolution and the application of astrochemical models of star formation to galaxies beyond the Milky Way; particularly the use of sulphur compounds as a signature of stars that are in the process of formation.[6]

After a recommendation from Ed Vaizey, who was then the Culture Minister, the Prime Minister D. Cameron appointed Chris Lintott as Astronomy Trustee of the National Maritime Museum (NMM). His appointment ran from the 24th June 2010 until the 23rd June 2014.[7]

Chris Lintott has published a wide variety of peer-reviewed scientific papers.[3][11][12]

Popular science[edit]

The Sky at Night[edit]

Main article: The Sky at Night

Lintott first appeared on the BBC astronomy programme The Sky at Night, presented by Patrick Moore, as a guest in 2000. As Moore's mobility deteriorated, Lintott acquired an increasingly prominent role, often providing on-location reporting from events covered by the programme. In an interview in 2007, with Mark Lawson, Moore described him as "eminently suitable" as a presenter.[13] He jointly presented the programme with Moore until the latter's death in December 2012. Since the February 2013 episode, Chris Lintott has been a co-presenter with Lucie Green (until December 2013) and with Maggie Aderin-Pocock (since February 2014).

In July 2004, Moore suffered a near-fatal bout of food poisoning and Lintott stood in as the sole presenter of that month's episode.[14] It was the only episode which Moore did not present since the show was first broadcast on 24 April 1957 until his death[15]

Galaxy Zoo & The Zooniverse[edit]

Main article: Galaxy Zoo

Lintott is the co-founder, along with Kevin Schawinski, of Galaxy Zoo, an online crowdsourcing project where members of the public can volunteer their time to assist in classifying over a million galaxies.[16] The project was inspired by, among others, Stardust@home. Describing the Galaxy Zoo project, Lintott commented that: "One advantage is that you get to see parts of space that have never been seen before. These images were taken by a robotic telescope and processed automatically, so the odds are that when you log on, that first galaxy you see will be one that no human has seen before."[16]

Lintott is the P.I. for the citizen science web portal Zooniverse.[17] Quoting from the Zooniverse Team page: "Astronomer and founder of both Galaxy Zoo and the Zooniverse that grew from it, Chris is interested in how galaxies form and evolve, how citizen science can change the world".[17] Lintott is also the chair of the Citizen Science Alliance, the organisation that produces, maintains and develops The Zooniverse.[18]


Lintott after a lecture for the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in April 2010

In October 2006, Chris Lintott, Patrick Moore and Brian May co-authored a book entitled Bang! – The Complete History of the Universe, which was produced by Canopus Books and published by Carlton Books on 23 October 2006.[4] It has been translated into 13 languages and has appeared in paperback. As suggested by the title, the illustrated book is a history of the Universe from the Big Bang to its eventual predicted end. It is aimed at a popular science audience and claims to make its subject matter easily comprehensible to readers without any knowledge of astronomy.[19]

In October 2012, Brian May, Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott co-authored a book entitled The Cosmic Tourist: The 100 Most Awe-inspiring Destinations in the Universe.[20] On the book's PR page, it is stated: "Take your seats for the greatest tour ever – one that encompasses no less than the whole of the Universe."[21]


In 2011, Lintott was awarded the Royal Society Kohn Award. He was awarded this (quoting from the Royal Society webpage): "For his excellent engagement with society in matters of science and its societal dimension." [22]

In 2013, Lintott was awarded the Oxford Internet Institute Internet and Society Award. He was given this (quoting from the OII website): "in recognition of Galaxy Zoo’s outstanding contributions to research by using crowd-sourced citizen science to capitalise on the availability of online big data-sets."[6]

In 2014, Lintott was awarded the Beatrice M. Tinsley from the American Astronomical Society. He was awarded this (quoting from the AAA website): "For his insight and creativity that created a transformative approach to science by engaging nonscientists in cutting edge research."[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Chris Lintott". UCL. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2012). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (6th ed.). Springer. p. 402. ISBN 9783642297182. 
  3. ^ a b c "Chris Lintott". University of Oxford. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Chris Lintott; May, Brian; Sir Patrick Moore (2009). Bang!: The Complete History of the Universe. Carlton Books Ltd. ISBN 1-84732-336-7. 
  5. ^ Brockes, Emma (19 October 2006). "Friend to the stars". London: Guardian Unlimited Arts. Retrieved 27 November 2006. 
  6. ^ a b c "Chris Lintott Receives Internet and Society Award from the Oxford Internet Institute". University of Oxford. 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "National Maritime Museum appointment". UK Government. July 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Computational Cosmology". University of Oxford. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "Christopher Lintott". New College, Oxford. 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "TVO Guests". TVO. 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "Chris J. Lintott MAS". Microsoft Academic Search. 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "C.J. Lintott ADS citations". SAO/NASA. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "A Brief Interview With Sir Patrick Moore". Universe Today. 15 November 2004. Retrieved 22 February 2007. 
  15. ^ "Sir Patrick hit by food poisoning". BBC News. 6 July 2004. Retrieved 22 February 2007. 
  16. ^ a b "Scientists seek galaxy hunt help". BBC News. 11 July 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2007. 
  17. ^ a b "The Zooniverse Team". The Zooniverse. 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "Citizen Science Alliance website". Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  19. ^ Kennedy, Maev (24 October 2006). "Guitarist joins astronomers to tell history of universe". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 7 January 2007. 
  20. ^ B. May, P. Moore, C. Lintott (11 October 2012). The Cosmic Tourist: The 100 Most Awe-inspiring Destinations in the Universe. Carlton Books. ISBN 978-1847326195. 
  21. ^ "The Cosmic Tourist". BangUniverse. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  22. ^ "Royal Society Kohn Award". The Royal Society. 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  23. ^ "Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize". The American Astronomical Society. 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 

External links[edit]