Professor Max Pettini FRS
Professor of Observational Astronomy, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge.
Max Pettini is distinguished for his extensive observational achievements and insightful interpretations of the chemical and physical conditions of interstellar matter seen in a wide range of cosmic environments. His early research led to the discovery that our Galaxy is surrounded by a halo of hot ionised gas, verifying a prediction made decades earlier. He was the first to systematically analyse diagnostic features in quasar absorption spectra in order to determine the chemical history of evolving galactic systems seen at large look-back times. His work has often involved ambitious observations conducted meticulously with large echelle spectrographs which were constructed under his guidance. He continues to play a central role in extensive surveys of high redshift star-forming galaxies that have transformed our view of how galaxies assembled in the early Universe. His observational results continue to represent the most important components that successful galaxy formation theories must explain.