Andy Newsam

Professor of Astronomy Education and Engagement
Director of the National Schools' Observatory
Programme Leader for Distance Learning
STFC Science and Society Fellow - currently on AstroTour
ESERO-UK Space Ambassador
Admissions Tutor for Undergraduate Degree courses

I am the Director of the National Schools' Observatory (NSO), which allows school children to make observations (and carry out experiments) with the world's largest robotic telescope. The aim of the project is to use astronomy to enthuse and educate children about science and technology as a whole, and to provide a stimulus for innovative and exciting teaching. My work on the NSO is supported by my other roles, which include running a suite of Distance Learning courses in astronomy for the general public, lecturing on our degree, and astronomical research.

My research is varied but generally involves getting observations from large number of telescopes all over the world (and sometimes above it) and trying to measure faint objects or tiny changes in brightness. Because of this, like most scientists, I travel a lot - sometimes to talk to colleagues in different parts of the world, but often to use telescopes which are usually up mountains in isolated places like Hawaii. It's a tough life.

To put some dates and places on all this:

  • 1988-1991: University of Warwick: BSc in Physics with Computing
  • 1991-1994: University of Glasgow: PhD in "Mapping the Large Scale Structure of the Universe"
  • 1994-1998: University of Southampton: Postdoctoral Research Assistant
  • 1998-present: Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores University in a variety of roles:
    • 1998-2002: Education and Research Fellow
    • 2002-2005: Lecturer
    • 2005-2006: Senior Lecturer/Director of the National Schools' Observatory
    • 2006-2012: Reader in Astronomy Education/Director of the NSO
    • 2012-preset: Professor of Astronomy Education/NSO Director

More work-related information:

You can find a list of some recent papers (since 2001) here. I am also starting to develop a programme in educational research to support and evaluate some of the innovative educational work done here at the ARI.

I'm also chair of the local branch of the Institute of Physics and helping to develop the work of The BA on Merseyside. For both of these groups, I help to organise the programme of local events. I organise similar events for the ARI including the annual Merseyside Astronomy Day (or MAD).

Oh, I also give quite a lot of talks to the public, astronomy societies, schools and so on. Fitting them into my diary be tricky, but if you would like to know more, just get in touch


Outside work I am very keen on experimental theatre (particularly at the excellent Unity Theatre and in the past at the sadly defunct Gantry Theatre in Southampton).

I occasionally work with the splendid (if not entirely sane) people of Artifice Arts including the highly successful Butlers.

I also take too many photographs

Contact Details

Postal Address:

Astrophysics Research Institute
Liverpool John Moores University
Twelve Quays House
Egerton Wharf
CH41 1LD
United Kingdom


Tel: +44 151 231 2909
FAX: +44 151 231 2921


Schools' Observatory email: andy -at-


National Schools' Observatory:
Astronomy by Distance Learning (under development):
Merseyside Astronomy Day:
Science Butlers:
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