Fred Watson is Australia’s first Astronomer-at-Large, an advocacy and outreach role in the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. He is a graduate of the universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and worked at both of Britain’s Royal Observatories before joining the Australian Astronomical Observatory as Astronomer-in-Charge in 1995. Recognised internationally for helping to pioneer the use of fibre optics in astronomy during the 1980s, Fred is best known today for his award-winning radio and TV broadcasts, books, music and dark-sky advocacy. He also co-hosts the popular Space Nuts podcast, which averages a million downloads per year. Fred is an adjunct professor in the University of Southern Queensland, and holds honorary appointments in several other Australian universities. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 for service to astronomy, and has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson), but says that if it hits the Earth, it won’t be his fault. Fred’s latest book is Spacewarp – Doomsday Comets and Other Cosmic Catastrophes, aimed at the 10+ age group and published by NewSouth Press.
- Astronomy Policy and Infrastructure
- Large-scale Spectroscopic Surveys
- Optical Instrumentation
- History of Astronomy
- Dark and Quiet Skies
- Science Outreach
Prof Watson’s publications can be viewed here