Steele Professor of Astronomy, California Institute of Technology
Carnegie Centenary Professor 2015, University of Edinburgh
Professor Richard Ellis is a distinguished astronomer with a long track record of major discoveries in many fields and is one of the world’s most cited scientists.
Within the UK he played a pioneering role in opening up the distant universe to direct observation. In his early career he demonstrated the promise of many of the key tools of contemporary cosmology (distant supernovae, large scale structure and gravitational lensing) and contributed significantly to the development of new instrumental facilities for the UK community.
Within the US, Ellis has exploited the twin Keck telescopes and the Hubble Space Telescope to explore the earliest period of cosmic history when the Universe was less than a billion years old. He developed the science case and the international partnership for the US-led Thirty Meter Telescope, an ambitious next generation facility now under construction.
Ellis was Head of Astronomy at Durham University from 1985-1993, Plumian Professor and Director of the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge from 1994-1999 and Director of Caltech Optical Observatories from 2000-2006. He has received many awards for his outstanding leadership and scientific contributions including the Gruber Cosmology Prize (for his part in the discovery of the accelerating Universe), the Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal (for a lifetime contribution to astronomy) and the award of Commander of the British Empire (for contributions to international science).