Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics, Mike Bode, was the founding Director of our world leading Astrophysics Research Institute and led the Institute until his sabbatical in 2014/15.
He joined LJMU in 1992 in a new post, Head of Physics, and very quickly a full team was assembled and the beginning of the modern offer of astrophysics study and research at the university began.
The institute, under the direction of Professor Bode, is renowned for the development of the Liverpool Telescope (the world's largest fully robotic telescope) and four other robotic telescopes, enabling LJMU to play an instrumental role in developing a network of research-class telescopes on key sites around the globe.
In February 2006, the then Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Brown joined Professor Bode and Professor Chris Collins, also from the Astrophysics Research Institute, at Buckingham Palace to collect a Queen's Anniversary Prize from HM Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of LJMU's astronomical excellence and public engagement in science.
The award acknowledged the development of the world's largest and most sophisticated ground based robotic telescopes, which are still opening up new areas of research for professional astronomers today. It also recognised the university's creative application of this technology through undergraduate programmes and distance learning courses, and how this is helping to reveal the wonders of science to school pupils around the UK through the National Schools Observatory, under the direction of Professor Andy Newsam.
Given the importance of astronomy to navigation, it is not surprising that the origins of LJMU's work in the world of astrophysics can be traced back across our 200-year history, at least in part, to the founding of the Nautical College in 1852. Astronomical telescopes were used jointly by the Liverpool Astronomical Society and the college throughout the 1800s and early 1900s. Few of these original members could have imagined that their institution would go on to design and build some of the world's largest and most responsive robotic telescopes, which are advancing our understanding of the cosmos.
Learn more about Professor Bode’s professional career as a research astrophysicist, in his farewell lecture from 2016 - Explosions, Dust and Robots: The Life and Times of a 'Transient Astronomer'. It includes anecdotes from his TV appearances on the BBC’s The Sky at Night with Sir Patrick Moore and how a dark matter garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show brought science to an audience of millions!