Geoffrey Cottrell describes the rise of telescopes from early optical examples to the sophisticated range of modern telescopes on Earth and in space, opening up the cosmos in views from radio waves to gamma rays. Looking forward, he discusses the possibilities of the new generation of telescopes in construction today.
Dr. Geoff Cottrell began his career as a radio astronomer at Cambridge, observing colliding galaxies. He then moved to plasma physics, to Culham Centre For Fusion Energy and the Joint European Torus (JET) project, working on magnetically confined plasmas, hotter than the centre of the Sun, where he identified a new form of super-thermal radio emission from fusion alpha-particles. He was Director of the Culham International Summer School for Plasma Physics from 2006-2011. He has now returned to his first love, astrophysics, and in recent years has worked with Chris Lintott at Oxford University on the citizen science project, Galaxy Zoo. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and visiting scientist at Rutherford Appleton laboratories, and at the Oxford University Astrophysics Department.