Prof Stephen Smartt

Professor Stephen Smartt.

Stephen Smartt left the Academy in 1987 and studied Physics and Applied Maths at Queen’s University. He completed his PhD at Queen’s in 1996 and was appointed as a staff scientist at the UK’s Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes in the Canary Islands. He spent 5 years a research fellow at the University of Cambridge and was appointed as a lecturer at Queen’s in 2004.  He won a European Young Investigator (EURYI) Award and a Philip Leverhulme Prize and was appointed Professor of Astrophysics in 2006, the youngest astrophysics professor in the UK at the time. 

Stephen leads several international teams to survey the sky with telescopes around the world and in space. He has discovered the stars that explode as supernovae and create the elements of the periodic table and in 2017 he played a major role in the first discovery of merging neutrons stars as the source of gravitational waves. His work has been recognised by a European Research Council Advanced grant, the George Darwin Lectureship of the Royal Astronomical Society, election to the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) and the 2018 award of RIA’s Gold medal in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences.  

Professor Smartt is passionate about the public's understanding of science. He regularly gives lectures, talks to schools and organises public events at Queen’s. He is also a regular media contributor on popular astronomy news stories in Northern Ireland and the UK.