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Institute of Astronomy


Roberto Maiolino  (?-) Professor of Experimental Astrophysics 2012-, Director Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge 2016-

Miss Anne Douglas Malden (1881-1961) Of Newnham College, Computer at the Cambridge Observatory 1903-4.  Graduated with BA (II) from Newnham College in 1903.  Her father was Henry Elliot Malden (1849-1931) a Fellow of Trinity Hall and an historian.

William Henry Manning (1883-1952) Assistant to Mr Newall 1905-13, Assistant at Solar Physics Observatory 1913-46. Joint author with Stratton of 'Atlas of Spectra of Nova Herculis 1934' (Cambridge 1939). He was married to the Labour M.P. and teachers union leader, Dame Leah Manning (who lived 1886-1977). They lived in the S.P.O. house from when it was new in 1913 (see L. Manning 'A Life for Education' London, 1970).  ODNB entry for Leah Manning.

Richard McMahon  (?-)  John Couch Adams Astronomer, (2000-2001). Director, Institute of Astronomy (2017-2022)

Revd. John Michell (1724/5-1793) Fellow, Queens' College 1749-64, Rector St. Botoloph's Cambridge 1762-63, Woodwardian Professor of Geology 1762-67, also telescope maker, observer, binary star and black hole theorist, pioneer geophysicist etc, (see ODNB)

Edward Arthur Milne M.B.E. (1896-1950) Assistant Director of the Solar Physics Observatory 1920-1924, he went on to become a major figure in relativity and cosmology. Gold Medal of the R.A.S. 1935.  Obit. MNRAS Vol. 111, p.160. (1950)  The Observatory, Vol. 70, p. 225-232 (1950)   

John Holdsworth Morgan (1825-1908) Junior Assistant, Cambridge Observatory 1844-47.  With Challis observes 'ring' of Neptune (MNRAS 7(1847)243).  With John T. Barber he published "An account of the aurora borealis, seen near Cambridge, October the 24th, 1847. Together with those of September 21, 1846 and March 19, 1847, seen at the Cambridge Observatory", Cambridge: Macmillan, Barclay and Macmillan, 1847.  He was an FRAS from 1879 to 1906. Later career in Church of England. Died in Bethlem Hospital.

P. Morris (??) Junior Assistant at the Cambridge Observatory 1893-96

Walter Moss (1878- 14 December 1958) joined Solar Physics Observatory at South Kensington in 1902, moved with SPO to Cambridge in 1913 and served as Senior Assistant Observer 1929-45, worked mainly on solar flares and prominences.  Obit. MNRAS 119 (1959) 349-350.

Jayant Vishnu Narlikar  (1938-)  Indian cosmologist, astrophysicist and author, collaborator with Fred Hoyle.  Member of the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy 1966-72

Hugh Frank Newall (1857-1944) Newall Observer 1891-1904, Assistant Director of Cambridge Observatory 1904-1913, Director of Solar Physics Observatory 1913-1928, a son of R.S. Newall he lived at Madingley Rise and operated the Newall Telescope.  Obit.  MNRAS Vol. 105, p.95 (1945)    The Observatory, Vol. 65, p. 195-199 (1944)

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) developed laws of motion and gravity, author of Principia (1687) ODNB

Samuel Ejikeme Okoye  (26 July 1939 - 18 November 2009)  Nigerian-British astrophysicist, first black african to obtain a doctorate in radio astronomy, vistor to the IoA 1990-1993 Wikipedia A&G 61 (28-30) 2020  See also A&G 61 (6) p.9 2020.

Jeremiah Ostriker (1937-) Plumian Professor: 2001-2004, astrophysicist

Michael William Ovenden  (1926-1987)  Junior Assistant Observer 1948-52 at Combined Observatories Cambridge, then lecturer at Glasgow 1953-66, FRSE (1964).  Professor at University of British Columbia 1966-85.  Obits. QJRAS 29 (1988) 90The Observatory 108 (1988) 31JBAA 98 (1987) 53.

David Elijah Packer (1862-1936) Assistant to H.F. Newall at the Cambridge Observatory 1891-92.  Later distinguished as a librarian in Birmingham, and as an active amateur astronomer.  (Jeremy Shears arXiv paper)

Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin  (1900-1979) worked on some projects at the Cambridge Observatory over the period 1922-3 (Ann. Rep. Obs. Synd. 1922, 1923).

Revd. Dr David William Peat  (??)  Junior Assistant Observer 1964-7, then Senior 1967-?, also on staff 1974-77.  Later ordained in Church of England.

Mrs A.C. Pemberton  (??)  Assistant Technical Officer, Combined Observatories 1967-?

C.G. Pendse  (??) researcher at the Cambridge Observatory 1933-5? under W.M. Smart. Ph.D. 1936 "The theory of Saturn's Ring".

E.T. Pierce (??) Junior Assistant S.P.O./Combined Observatories 1945-6

John Isaac Plummer (1845-1925) Computer at the Cambridge Observatory 1859?-December 1863.  See, J.M. Appleton, "Stars and storms" (2012).

Roderick Oliver Redman (1905-1975) Assistant Director Solar Physics Observatory 1931-37.  Married Kathleen Bancroft in 1935.  Director of the Combined Observatories 1947-1972, FRS (1946) President of the RAS (1959-61). Obituary in QJRAS 17 (1976) 80-86.  Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 70, p.34 (1976)  ODNB 

Lord Martin Rees of Ludlow O.M. (1942-) Plumian Professor: 1973-1991, Director, Institute of Astronomy 1977-1982 and 1987-1991.  Astronomer Royal 1995-

Christopher S. Reynolds  (1971-)  Plumian Professor 2017-2023

E. Roberts (??) Computer at the Cambridge Observatory (1879-80)

William Edward Rolston (1876-1921) Computer at S.P.O. from 1901-1913, First Junior Observer from 1913-21, although period 1915-21 on military service.  Assisted Norman Lockyer with the computations for "Stonehenge and other British stone monuments : astronomically considered" London : Macmillan, 1906 (see page vii).  Commissioned 1915 into The Buffs (East of Kent Rgt.), as a Captain in the army of occupation he edited the "Cologne Post" a newspaper for soldiers, died in Cologne and buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery, see CWGC database.  Obit. MNRAS 82 (1922) 253

Sir Martin Ryle (1918-1984) Astronomer Royal 1972-82 (1974 Nobel Prize winner) ODNB

Jean Sanderson  (1937-2009) library assistant in the IoA Library 1979-96, see IoA Library Bulletin No. 42 (2010)

Canon William Selwyn (1806-1875) Canon of Ely Cathedral, took with John Titterton, photographs of the solar disc 1863-74. Obit. MNRAS Vol. 36, p.145 (1875)   ODNB

Jonathan Shanklin  (1953-?)  Comet observations from Cambridge Observatory see 'Popular Astronomy' (SPA)  Vol. 62 (2015) Issue 5 pages 29-31.

Rev. Richard Sheepshanks (1794-1855) Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, Secretary of the RAS, FRS (1830) benefactor to astronomy. His elder sister, Anne Sheepshanks (1789-1876) was a generous donor to the Cambridge, and many other observatories. MNRAS 15 (1855) 225 A&G 53 (2016) 3.11  (see ODNB) Portrait photograph in IoA Library DSpace  Memorial in Trinity College Chapel 

Anthony Shepherd (1721-1796) Plumian Professor: 1760-1796, published astronomical tables, a friend of Captain Cook, (see ODNB)

Noel Bryan Slater (1912-1974) Junior Assistant Observer, S.P.O. 1939-46, later professor of mathematics at Hull, worked on Eddington's theories (see QJRAS 15 (1974) 65)

Isabel Macquarie Smart  (1887-1974) childrens author and wife of W.M. Smart

William Marshall Smart (9 March 1889 -17 September 1975) 1915-19 Instructor Lieutenant, Royal Navy.  Chief Assistant, Cambridge Observatory 1919-1937 (resident from September 1920), the first John Couch Adams Astronomer 1921-1937, author of 'Spherical Astronomy' (1931), later Regius Professor of Astronomy at Glasgow 1937-1959.  Obit. QJRAS 18 (1977) 140. The Times 19 September 1975. 

John Smith (?1711-1795) second Lowndean Professor, set up a transit telescope at Gonville and Caius (1764), (see ODNB)

Robert Smith (1689-1768) Plumian Professor: 1716-1760, established an observatory at Trinity College Gateway, (see ODNB)  Interment at Trinity College Chapel

Robert Snow  (1805-1854) amateur astronomer educated at St. Johns, FRAS 1831, recorded as an observer with the Northumberland Telescope in 1839  MNRAS 15 (1855) 101

Leonard John Stanley (1888-?) Assistant to Mr Newall 1906-13, Assistant Solar Physics Observatory 1913-46, Assistant Combined Observatories 1946-53

William Herbert Steavenson  (1894-1975) a distinguished amateur astronomer, from 1939 and during the period 1945-56 he used a 760mm Hindle reflector mounted in a dome just to the North of the Cambridge Observatory. See obits.  QJRAS 18(1977)147  JBAA 86(1976)386

Frederick John Marrian Stratton D.S.O. (1881-1960) Assistant in Astrophysics 1909-13, Assistant Director of SPO 1913-19, Director of SPO 1919-46, Director of the combined Observatories 1946-7. Author of 'The History of the Cambridge Observatories' (1949).  Obit. QJRAS 2 (1961) 44-49.  Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 55, p.9 (1961)

John Swan (?1605-1671) clergyman, author of 'Speculum mundi' (1635), (see ODNB)