Michael Rowan-Robinson (born 1942) is an astronomer and astrophysicist. He was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge and is Professor of Astrophysics and until May 2007 was Head of the Astrophysics Group at Imperial College London. From 1981 to 1982, he gave public lectures as professor of astronomy at Gresham College. He retired as president of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2008.
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 and the Planck Surveyor HFI.
Asteroid 4599 Rowan
Asteroid 4599, discovered in 1985 by H. Debehogne at the European Southern Observatory, has been renamed "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.
Rowan-Robinson directed Brian May's doctoral thesis in Astrophysics.
Books and publications
His books include:
- The Cosmological Distance Ladder (W.H. Freeman and Company, 1985) ISBN 0-7167-1586-4
- Universe (Longman, 1990) ISBN 978-0-582-04438-8
- Ripples in the Cosmos (A View Behind the Scenes of the New Cosmology)
- The Nine Numbers of the Cosmos (OUP 2001) ISBN 978-0-19-286216-7
- Cosmology (OUP 2004) ISBN 978-0-19-852747-3