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Professor Martin J. Ward

Martin Ward
Martin Ward is Head of the Physics Department at Durham University, and he also holds the "Temple Chevallier" professorship of astronomy. Temple Chevallier was the first professor of astronomy and mathematics at Durham University, appointed in 1841. Now this family is also famous for the production of Aspall's special cyder!

Martin is NOT an astronaut! However, early in his career he worked for NASA on one of the instruments flown on the Hubble Space Telescope. More recently he has been a consultant for the European Space Agency, and was a member of the International Space Station User's Panel. His career includes research postings in Australia and the United States, and he has also held Fellowships at Colleges in both Oxford and Cambridge. He is currently part of team working on plans for the next generation Hubble Telescope, due for launch in a few years time.

Martin Ward is on the panel of The Borders of Reality as part of The Green Phoenix debate programme in August 2010.


Martin's research is focussed on the study of Black Holes. These exotic phemonena are found at the very centre of almost all galaxies. They range in mass (weight) from about a million times that of our Sun, up to a thousand million times that of our Sun. He studies black holes by a varity of means, including using telescopes on top of a Volcano in Hawaii, a telescope in the Namibian bush, and satellites in orbit around the Earth, including the Hubble Space telescope.

In addition to his research, Martin is very interested in the public awareness of science, and he has appeared as a guest on Patrick Moore's "Sky at Night" BBC programme, and in radio 4's "In Our Time" with Melvyn Bragg. He gives regular public lectures, including one called "Darkness Made Visible" (a reference to Milton's Paradise Lost), in which he explains our current understanding of Black Holes, Dark Matter and Dark Energy.

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Professor Martin Ward: staff profile

Department of Physics, Durham University

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