Skip to content
Fellows Directory

Alexander Boksenberg

Professor Alexander Boksenberg CBE FRS


Elected: 1978


Alexander Boksenberg’s work in observational astronomy has received wide acclaim. In ultraviolet astronomy from space vehicles and balloons, he has originated a new concept of sky-scanning photometry, introduced a new sun baffle system used in many satellites, and carried out investigations of interstellar gas by means of high-resolution spectroscopy.

In optical astronomy, he has developed a fundamentally new detector, the Image Photon Counting System, which was conceived in 1968 and has been used with outstanding success since 1973. Using this technique, he has collaborated with some of the world’s leading astronomers at the Palomar 5-metre telescope and elsewhere in making observations of faint extragalactic objects of cosmological interest.

The aim of Alexander’s work has been to use the most advanced technologies to build good working astronomical instruments and to use them in carrying out challenging research; in this he has been outstandingly successful.

Interests and expertise

Subject groups




  • Hughes Medal

    For his landmark discoveries concerning the nature of active galactic nuclei, the physics of the intergalactic medium and of the interstellar gas in primordial galaxies. He is noted also for his exceptional contributions to the development of astronomical instrumentation including the Image Photon Counting System, a revolutionary electronic area detector for the detection of faint sources, which gave a major impetus to optical astronomy in the United Kingdom.