Catherine Heymans Appointed Scotland’s Astronomer Royal

Congratulations to Prof. Catherine Heymans, who’s been appointed Scotland’s 11th Astronomer Royal.

She replaces John Brown who sadly passed away in 2019.

An expert on dark energy and dark matter, Catherine is also director of the German Centre for Cosmological Lensing at Ruhr-University Bochum.

One of Catherine’s most exciting early initiatives in the role will be to install telescopes in all of Scotland’s remote outdoor learning centres, that are visited by school pupils.

She’s passionate about the cathartic experience of live observing, and how this can drive a lifelong passion for science:

“I don’t think anyone forgets the first time they saw the rings of Saturn through a telescope, but too many people never have the chance.“

“My hope is that once that spark and connection with the universe is made, children will carry that excitement home with them and develop a life-long passion for astronomy or, even better, science as a whole,”.

I couldn’t agree more.

The position of Astronomer Royal for Scotland was created in 1834 and originally held by the director of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell, president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, said: “The Astronomer Royal for Scotland has always been a distinguished and respected astronomer, and Professor Heymans is exactly that.”

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