Professor Antony Hewish FRS

Antony Hewish was a Nobel Prize-winning radio astronomer who is recognised for his role in the development of techniques critical to the discovery of pulsars. These astronomical bodies represent a special type of neutron star characterised by the regular emission of electromagnetic radiation, which offer valuable insights into the behaviour of matter at extremely high densities.

Antony's early work was devoted to studying the diffraction of radio waves through different media in order to better understand their properties. This allowed him to construct an experimental set-up to detect the scintillation or 'twinkling' of distant stars with a much higher level of angular resolution than had previously been possible. In addition to providing evidence for pulsars, the results he obtained also yielded important insights into the evolution of the Universe.

Widely recognised for his pioneering astronomical work, Antony received the Eddington Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society as well as the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics. He was a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Antony Hewish FRS died on 13 September 2021.

Biographical Memoir

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics



  • Hughes Medal

    For his outstanding contributions to radioastronomy, including the discovery and identification of pulsars.

  • Nobel Prize in Physics

    Jointly with Sir Martin Ryle for their pioneering research in radio astrophysics: Ryle for his observations and inventions, in particular of the aperture synthesis technique, and Hewish for his decisive role in the discovery of pulsars.

Professor Antony Hewish FRS
Elected 1968