Dr Andrew Newsam
I would describe myself as a numerical astronomer with observational tendencies. My first degree was in Computation Physics at Warwick University after which I decided to move into astronomy and did a PhD at Glasgow University. My research there was fairly theoretical (the thesis title was “Mapping the Large Scale Structure of the Universe”). After submitting the thesis I was immediately thrown into the heady world of observational astronomy with a Postdoctoral job at Southampton University studying the Cosmic X-ray Background. After discovering some of the delights of professional observation (jet-lag, freezing cold, sleep deprivation, altitude sickness etc.) I became hooked and have taken every opportunity since to go observing.
I have always had a big interest in the public reaction to and appreciation of science and when the opportunity came to move up to Liverpool John Moores University in 1998 to work on a big project to get the general public, and especially school children, actively involved in astronomy through the use of professional telescopes, I grabbed it with both hands and have been here ever since. The project, which has since evolved into the National Schools’ Observatory, brings together astronomy, high-technology, education and enterprise in a way that is unique. The aim is to allow school children to make their own observations alongside professional astronomers on top-quality telescopes. Based around the Liverpool Telescope – the largest fully-robotic telescope in the world – the full power of the Internet has been brought to bear to open-up the science, excitement and beauty of the Universe to a whole generation of children (and their parents and teachers!).