I am a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, located at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh (ROE) on Blackford Hill. I work on quasars, observational cosmology, and big, big sky surveys : I am the PI of the UKIRT Infrared Sky Survey (UKIDSS). I am also the leader of a project called AstroGrid, which is part of an international inititiative to create a global Virtual Observatory.

You can see my home page at the ROE – it has an overview of research and some copies of my popular talks.

In the last few years I completed a five year stint as Head of the School of Physics, followed by a sabbatical year at KIPAC, which is an institute shared between SLAC and Stanford University. Now normal life has returned. Whatever that is.

Last but not least I have four kids and much less hair than I used to. I don’t think these facts are connected, except through the usual linked variable, time.

My current header picture is a slice from an infrared iamge of the Orion Nebula, taken with the UKIRT Wide Field Camera, the same beast we use for UKIDSS. Last year the banner picture was a view of Stanford, and before that it was a panoramic view of Edinburgh. I miss these, but you can’t have everything.


17 Responses to About

  1. The Anonymous Physicist says:

    Spot on with your comments. Some Orwellian re-writing of news is going on at the moment – earlier this morning, the main STFC article on the BBC website had the statement ‘STFC management only realised their mistake after the Comprehensive Spending Review, and then asked for more money’. Interestingly, that statement has now disappeared from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7137387.stm. I think that Brian Cox played it well, but we’ll have to wait and see what Pearson does in this latest review.
    ‘We’re going to have a review to see what we did wrong in the last review.’ hmmmm

  2. Tara Cuskley says:

    Hey Andy,

    I’ve taken a look at your blog and thought you might like to know about the upcoming book MARS 3-D (Nov. 2008) by Jim Bell, planetary scientist and leader of the Pancam color imaging team for the Mars Rover missions. Here’s a brief description:

    What would it be like to visit Mars—to explore the distinctive, untouched terrain that inspired astronomers and stirred so many sci-fi writers’ imaginations? Two highly capable robotic geologists—Spirit and Opportunity—made that amazing voyage, and spent the last four years roaming the Red Planet’s unique landscape. The 120 stunning 3-D and color images from the Rovers have been compiled in MARS 3-D for the first time, complete with built-in 3-D viewer. These super-realistic photos pop off the page, allowing us to see for ourselves the rocks, craters, valleys, and other geologic configurations that define the Martian terrain. Compelling and accessible text guides us on this exhilarating tour, revealing the thrill of each discovery, along with the perils and near misses. http://www.sterlingpublishing.com/catalog?isbn=1402756208

    Let me know if you would like me to send you a free review copy – I can also offer a short excerpt from the book or some giveaway copies for your readers. Let me know!

    All the best,

    Tara Cuskley
    Sterling Publishing

  3. Hi Prof. Andy Lawrence !

    I was glad to find your astronomy site https://andyxl.wordpress.com as I was wandering through the blogosphere of Astronomy. Since I also share the astronomy field (I am an amateur astronomer from Sri Lanka), I could literally obtain a great knowledge from your pages. I appreciate the time and efforts that you have taken to build up the blog into such a higher standard.

    I am happy to inform you that I also maintain an astronomy blog, especially dedicated to IYA 2009 at http://iya2009sl.blogspot.com. I update the periodic IYA 2009 and astronomy happenings in Sri Lanka in addition to providing visitors a worldwide scope on IYA 2009 and Astronomy news.

    In order to provide my visitors more information and knowledge, I decided to connect with your valuable and resourceful blog https://andyxl.wordpress.com Therefore I want to get your permission to put your link on my blog.

    Meantime I would be obliged if you could put a link from your blog to my blog in return. This will also let me to have more audience at the same time.

    As I mentioned above my link is http://iya2009sl.blogspot.com and I’m waiting for your reply to be informed about the issue.

    Thank you very much for your time amidst busy schedules.
    I take this opportunity to wish you all the best for your career and future endeavors!

    Yours sincerely,

    J D Prasanna Deshapriya

  4. MikeW says:

    so when will the banner image revert to something more Alba-ian?

  5. William Lee says:

    We are physician network. Science.org has chosen you to give a little acknowledgment(award) for sharing great informational resource to public. Please reply to request award banner.

  6. Carly Miller says:


    I have a quick question about your site. Would you mind emailing me back @ carlymiller687@gmail.com


  7. Andy,

    I would like the opportunity to contact you directly regarding Neil F. Comins, a fellow Professor of Astronomy at the University of Maine, and his work.

    If you are interested, can you please email me at tharruff@iuniverse.com so that I may have your best available contact. I unsuccessfully searched your blog for an email/contact form.

    Thank you kindly,
    Taylor H.

    • You’ll have to share her with Telescoper. 🙂

      Question of the day: When and why did folks in the US start turning surnames into girls’ given names? I read that a few years ago the most common girl’s name was “Madison”, which is not only a last name but has “son” in it.

      • andyxl says:

        Funnily enough, they also do this in Scotland, but its for men, and only the upper middle classes do it – you get people called, Finlay, Cameron, Urquhart and so on. Billy Connolly used to do a nice routine taking the pis out of this habit

    • andyxl says:

      Awfully nice of you to ask, Taylor, but I think a WordPress blog is enough vanity publishing already. Like your Twitter profile pic !

  8. Veronica Reed says:


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  9. Mongeda says:

    My name is Mongeda Makram ..
    Im a young Muslim African woman from Sudan ..
    Im 24 year old ..
    I would like to have if possible a full scholarship .
    Physics or Astronomy.
    Here in my education is bad in govermental universities and if you want to get appropriate education you must study in private universities, it costs a lot of money and people like me can’t pay such money. And also I don’t have enough money to study here or abroad.
    I studied high school in Saudi Arabia and graduated since 2009 and till now I didn’t get an appropriate education nor have a university degree..
    My English language is good I developed it by my self but I don’t have a certificate of proficiency.. But I can have it if it is important.
    And I’ll not let you down . So please if there is any chance tell me.. I just wanna be educated!

    My greetings,
    Thank you.

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