Michael Rowan-Robinson

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Michael Rowan-Robinson
Geoffrey Michael Rowan-Robinson[4]

(1942-07-09)9 July 1942[4]
EducationEshton Hall School[4]
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge (BA)
Royal Holloway, University of London (PhD)[2][5]
AwardsFred Hoyle Medal and Prize (2008)
Scientific career
InstitutionsImperial College London
Gresham College
ThesisOn the structure and distribution of quasi-stellar radio-sources (1969)
Doctoral advisorWilliam McCrea[1]
Doctoral studentsBrian May[2][3]

(Geoffrey) Michael Rowan-Robinson FRAS FInstP (born 9 July 1942)[4] is an astronomer, astrophysicist and Professor of Astrophysics at Imperial College London. He previously served as head of the astrophysics group until May 2007 and from 1981 to 1982, and as Gresham Professor of Astronomy.[4][6]


Rowan-Robinson was educated at Eshton Hall School[4] and the University of Cambridge where he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Natural Sciences as an undergraduate student of Pembroke College, Cambridge. He went on to complete a PhD on Quasars at Royal Holloway, University of London in 1969 supervised by William McCrea.[2][1]

Research and career[edit]

Rowan-Robinson's research interests include the Spitzer Space Telescope SWIRE project, the European Large Area ISO Survey, the UK SCUBA Survey (see James Clerk Maxwell Telescope), the IRAS PSC Redshift Survey, the Herschel Space Observatory SPIRE instrument[7] and the Planck Surveyor HFI.[8]

Rowan-Robinson co-supervised Brian May's PhD in Astrophysics initially supervised by James Ring and Ken Reay.[2][3] He retired as president of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2008.[citation needed]

In November 2021 he published an article on the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society regarding the search for Planet Nine using IRAS data.[9]


His publications[10][11] and books include:

  • The Cosmological Distance Ladder[12]
  • Universe[13]
  • Ripples in the Cosmos[14]
  • The Nine Numbers of the Cosmos[15]
  • Cosmology[16]

Awards and honours[edit]

Rowan-Robinson was awarded the 2008 Hoyle Medal by the Institute of Physics for his research in infrared and submillimetre astronomy, and observational cosmology.[17]

The asteroid 4599 Rowan, discovered in 1985 by Henri Debehogne at the European Southern Observatory, was renamed[when?] "Rowan" to honor Michael Rowan-Robinson. The credit notes that, even though Rowan-Robinson's contributions have been in extragalactic astronomy, he was able to use data from IRAS to set a limit on the number of undiscovered Jupiter-like planets beyond the orbit of Neptune.[18]


  1. ^ a b Rowan-Robinson, Geoffrey Michael (1969). On the structure and distribution of quasi-stellar radio-sources. ethos.bl.uk (PhD thesis). University of London. ISBN 9781339706757.
  2. ^ a b c d Michael Rowan-Robinson at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ a b May, Brian Harold (2008). A survey of radial velocities in the zodiacal dust cloud. ethos.bl.uk (PhD thesis). Imperial College London. Bibcode:2008srvz.book.....M. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-77706-1. hdl:10044/1/1333. ISBN 9780387777054. OCLC 754716941. Open access icon
  4. ^ a b c d e f "ROWAN-ROBINSON, Prof. (Geoffrey) Michael". Who's Who. Vol. 1997 (online Oxford University Press ed.). Oxford: A & C Black. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ "Professor Michael Rowan-Robinson". ic.ac.uk. Imperial College London. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017.
  6. ^ Rowan-Robinson, Michael (2017). "Michael Rowan-Robinson CV" (PDF). astro.ic.ac.uk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 May 2015.
  7. ^ Griffin, M. J.; Abergel, A.; Abreu, A.; Ade, P. A. R.; André, P.; Augueres, J.-L.; Babbedge, T.; Bae, Y.; Baillie, T.; Baluteau, J.-P.; Barlow, M. J.; Bendo, G.; Benielli, D.; Bock, J. J.; Bonhomme, P.; Brisbin, D.; Brockley-Blatt, C.; Caldwell, M.; Cara, C.; Castro-Rodriguez, N.; Cerulli, R.; Chanial, P.; Chen, S.; Clark, E.; Clements, D. L.; Clerc, L.; Coker, J.; Communal, D.; Conversi, L.; et al. (2010). "TheHerschel-SPIRE instrument and its in-flight performance". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 518: L3. arXiv:1005.5123. Bibcode:2010A&A...518L...3G. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201014519. ISSN 0004-6361. S2CID 1532002.
  8. ^ Ade, P. A. R.; Aghanim, N.; Armitage-Caplan, C.; Arnaud, M.; Ashdown, M.; Atrio-Barandela, F.; Aumont, J.; Baccigalupi, C.; Banday, A. J.; Barreiro, R. B.; Bartlett, J. G.; Battaner, E.; Benabed, K.; Benoît, A.; Benoit-Lévy, A.; Bernard, J.-P.; Bersanelli, M.; Bielewicz, P.; Bobin, J.; Bock, J. J.; Bonaldi, A.; Bond, J. R.; Borrill, J.; Bouchet, F. R.; Bridges, M.; Bucher, M.; Burigana, C.; Butler, R. C.; Calabrese, E.; et al. (2014). "Planck2013 results. XVI. Cosmological parameters". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 571: A16. arXiv:1303.5076. Bibcode:2014A&A...571A..16P. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201321591. ISSN 0004-6361. S2CID 118349591.
  9. ^ Rowan-Robinson, Michael (2022). "A search for Planet 9 in the IRAS data". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 510 (3). Royal Astronomical Society: 3716–3726. arXiv:2111.03831. doi:10.1093/mnras/stab3212.
  10. ^ Michael Rowan-Robinson publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  11. ^ Hughes, David H.; Serjeant, Stephen; Dunlop, James; Rowan-Robinson, Michael; Blain, Andrew; Mann, Robert G.; Ivison, Rob; Peacock, John; Efstathiou, Andreas; Gear, Walter; Oliver, Seb; Lawrence, Andy; Longair, Malcolm; Goldschmidt, Pippa; Jenness, Tim (1998). "High-redshift star formation in the Hubble Deep Field revealed by a submillimetre-wavelength survey". Nature. 394 (6690): 241–247. arXiv:astro-ph/9806297. Bibcode:1998Natur.394..241H. doi:10.1038/28328. ISSN 0028-0836. S2CID 4428890.
  12. ^ Michael., Rowan-Robinson (1985). The cosmological distance ladder : distance and time in the universe. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 978-0716715863. OCLC 10505595.
  13. ^ Michael., Rowan-Robinson (1990). Universe. London: Longman. ISBN 9780582044388. OCLC 20964749.
  14. ^ Michael., Rowan-Robinson (1993). Ripples in the cosmos : a view behind the scenes of the new cosmology. Diane Pub Co. ISBN 9780788194610. OCLC 948365655.
  15. ^ Michael., Rowan-Robinson (2001). The nine numbers of the cosmos. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780192862167. OCLC 828523172.
  16. ^ Michael., Rowan-Robinson (2004). Cosmology (4th ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 9780198527473. OCLC 53156521.
  17. ^ "Hoyle Medal and Prize". iop.org. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  18. ^ "Citation for (4599)". Retrieved 20 July 2006. [dead link]