Professor Andy Newsam

Professor Andrew Newsam is one of those rare individuals who manages to explain complex science in a way the rest of us understand and wonder at.

He joined LJMU in 1998 as an Education and Research Fellow with the Astrophysics Research Institute, renowned for the Liverpool Telescope (the world's largest fully robotic telescope). He progressed into lecturing and in 2005 became the Director of the National Schools’ Observatory (NSO) – ensuring access to the universe for all – and in 2012 became a Professor of Astronomy Education and Engagement.

In our bicentenary year, Andy will deliver the first Roscoe lecture of the milestone celebrations and will talk about the incredible impact that the NSO has had, and continues to have, on children across the country and the globe. Inspiring the next generation of scientists.

Andy is also the author of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Universe (And our place within it). It’s a brilliantly vivid guide to the incredible mysteries of Space and to ourselves.

“I have always had a big interest in the public reaction to and appreciation of science and when the opportunity came to move up to Liverpool John Moores University in 1998 to work on a big project to get the general public, and especially school children, actively involved in astronomy through the use of professional telescopes, I grabbed it with both hands and have been here ever since. The project, which has since evolved into the National Schools' Observatory, brings together astronomy, high-technology, education and enterprise in a way that is unique.”

– Professor Andy Newsam

He is an academic, but he talks of his subject with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of a child, something that resonates throughout his book in which he explains how his own fascination with the universe is intensified by the fact that his brain “kind of splits in two”. First, there is the side of the old grey matter that enjoys solving problems “which is why I became a scientist”, while second there is the “part of me that wanders around outside on a dark night, looks up and says ‘blimey’”.

Andy believes if you can explain the universe to kids, you should be able to get some of that information through to less receptive adults.

“Let’s forget this idea that Space and science is something to be worked out by people in white coats; it’s a subject that answers questions that people are already asking themselves. We can use astronomy to help people to appreciate, understand and lose their fear of the science and technology that surrounds them.”

In his own words, watch Professor Newsam talk about the importance of opening the world of science to the next generation. How the NSO allows schoolchildren to make their own observations, alongside professional astronomers, on top-quality telescopes and through the power of the internet.