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Martin J. Rees, Astronomer Royal, former Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and former president of the Royal Society, is one of the world’s leading theoretical astrophysicists.

Rees has spent decades investigating the implications of the big bang, the nature of black holes, events during the so-called ‘dark age’ of the early universe, and the mysterious explosions from galaxy centers known as gamma ray bursters. His distinguished achievements in cosmology and astrophysics have been exceptionally broad-based, and his pioneering research has contributed to the understanding of the origin and nature of the universe.


Some people might surmise that intellectual immersion in vast expanses of space and time would render cosmologists serene and uncaring about what happens next year, next week, or tomorrow. But, for me, the opposite is the case. My concerns are deepened by the realization that, even in a perspective extending billions of years into the future, as well as into the past, this century may be a defining moment.