Prof John Barrow HonFISSRProf John Barrow HonFISSR

Research Professor of Mathematical Sciences
University of Cambridge

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John D. Barrow was born in London in 1952 and attended Ealing Grammar School. He graduated in Mathematics from Durham University in 1974, received his doctorate in Astrophysics from Oxford University in 1977 (supervised by Dennis Sciama), and held positions at the Universities of Oxford and California at Berkeley before taking up a position at the Astronomy Centre, University of Sussex in 1981. He was professor of astronomy and Director of the Astronomy Centre at the University of Sussex until 1999. He is the author of 370 scientific articles in cosmology and astrophysics, and is a recipient of the Locker Prize for Astronomy and the 1999 Kelvin Medal of the Royal Glasgow Philosophical Society. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Hertfordshire in 1999. He held a Senior 5-year Research Fellowship from the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council of the UK in 1994-9. He holds the Gresham Professorship of Astronomy for the period 2003-6. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003.
In July 1999 he took up a new appointment as Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University and Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project, a new initiative to improve the understanding and appreciation of mathematics and its applications amongst young people and the general public. He is also Fellow and Vice-President of Clare Hall College, Cambridge.
He is the author of more than 380 scientific articles and 16 books, translated into 28 languages, which explore many of the wider historical, philosophical and cultural ramifications of developments in astronomy, physics and mathematics: these include, The Left Hand of Creation (with Joseph Silk), The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (with Frank Tipler), L'Homme et le Cosmos (with Frank Tipler), The World Within the World, Theories of Everything, Pi in the Sky: counting, thinking and being, Pérche il mondo è matematico?, The Origin of the Universe, The Artful Universe, Impossibility: the limits of science and the science of limits, Between Inner Space and Outer Space, The Book of Nothing and The Constants of Nature: from alpha to omega, and most recently, The Infinite Book: a short guide to the boundless, timeless and endless. He has written a play, Infinities, which was performed (in Italian) at the Teatro la Scala, Milan, in the Spring of 2002 and again in 2003 under the direction of Luca Ronconi and in Spanish at the Valencia Festival. It was the winner of the Italian Premi Ubu award for best play in the Italian theatre in 2002, the 2003 Italgas Prize for the promotion of science and the 2005 Lacchini Prize for atsronomy.
He is a frequent lecturer to audiences of all sorts in many countries. He has given many notable public lectures in many countries, including the 1989 Gifford Lectures at Glasgow University, the George Darwin and Whitrow Lectures of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Amnesty International Lecture on Science in Oxford, The Flamsteed Lecture, The Tyndall Lecture, The Brasher Lecture, The RSA Christmas Lecture for Children, and the Spinoza Lecture at the University of Amsterdam. John Barrow also has the curious distinction of having delivered lectures on cosmology at the Venice Film Festival, 10 Downing Street, Windsor Castle and the Vatican Palace.

Honoraria Titles

Major Prizes


The Book of Nothing

Jonathan Cape, London & Pantheon NY 2000 & 2001

The Universe that Discovered Itself

Oxford University Press 2000

The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless

Jonathan Cape and Vintage London and Pantheon NY 2005 (+ various languages)

The Constants of Nature: From Alpha to Omega,

Jonathan Cape, London & Pantheon NY 2002 & 2003

100 Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know

Bodley Head, Random House and Norton US 2008

The Artful Universe Expanded

Oxford University Press 2005, 2nd edn

New Theories of Everything

Oxford University Press 2007, 2nd expanded edn

Cosmic Imagery

Bodley Head, Random House and Norton US 2008

Between Inner Space and Outer Space

Oxford University Press 1999 (+ various languages)

Impossibility: the limits of science and the science of limits

Oxford University Press 1998 (+ various languages)

The Artful Universe Expanded

Oxford University Press, paperback edns by Penguin, London and Little Brown 1995 (+ various languages)

The Origin of the Universe

Basic Books, NY and Orion, London 1993 (and 26 languages)

Perche il Mondo e Matematico?

(1991 Sigma-Tau-Laterza Lectures) Laterza, Rome 1992 (+ various languages)

Pi in the Sky: Counting, Thinking and Being

Oxford University Press, paperback edns by Penguin, London and Little Brown, NY 1992 (+ various languages)

Theories of Everything: The Quest for Ultimate Explanation

Oxford University Press, paperback edns by Vintage, London and Ballantine 1991 (+ various languages)

The World Within the World

Oxford University Press 1988, (2nd edn 1995) (+ various languages)

The Anthropic Cosmological Principle

Oxford University Press 1986, (2nd edn. 1996), (+ various languages (with F J Tipler)

The Left Hand of Creation: The Origin and Evolution of the Expanding Universe

Basic Books, New York and Heinemann, London (with J Silk); paperback eds by Allen & Unwin, London and Basic Bks NY 1983; 2nd enlarged edition 1995, Oxford University Press, NY and Penguin, London (+ various languages)