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Fellows Directory

Stephen Smartt

Stephen Smartt

Professor Stephen Smartt CBE FRS


Elected: 2020






Stephen Smartt studied physics and applied mathematics at Queen’s University Belfast and was awarded a PhD in astrophysics in 1996. He worked at the Isaac Newton Group of telescopes and held a fellowship at the University of Cambridge. Stephen returned to Belfast in 2004 and established a group working on stellar evolution, supernovae and time domain sky surveys. He directly discovered stars that explode as supernovae, measuring their mass, luminosity and the chemical elements synthesised.

Stephen is a global pioneer in the field of digital, time domain sky surveys. He led several international projects to uncover an unexpected diversity in the physics of stellar death. He discovered some of the Universe’s most luminous supernovae and played a leading role in the discovery and physical understanding of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave source.

Stephen is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and Leverhulme Prize winner. In 2018 he was awarded the George Darwin lectureship from the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Irish Academy’s Gold Medal in the physical and mathematical sciences.

Professional positions

Philip Wetton Professor of Astrophysics, Department of Physics, University of Oxford
Professor of Astrophysics, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics
    • Astronomy, Astrophysics
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