Fred Watson

Astronomer, Writer, Science Communicator

Fred Watson says he's spent so many years working in large telescope domes that he has started to look like one. He has been an astronomer at the Australian Astronomical Observatory since 1995, and his main scientific interest is in the use of novel technology to gather information on very large numbers of stars and galaxies. Until 2009, Fred was based at the AAO's telescopes in Coonabarabran, where he was Astronomer in Charge. He is now the Australia's Astronomer at Large with Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science, working closely with state and Federal government scientists and communicators.

Fred has adjunct professorships at the University of Western Sydney, University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, the Queensland University of Technology and the University of Southern Queensland.

Fred is well-known for his astronomy slots on ABC radio, and his books include "Stargazer - the Life and Times of the Telescope", "Why is Uranus Upside Down? and Other Questions About the Universe", (which won the 2008 Queensland Premier's Literary Prize for Science Writing) and the ABC's blockbuster, “Universe”, for which he was chief consultant.

In January 2013, Fred launched his most recent book "Star-Craving Mad, Tales from a Travelling Astronomer" featuring many highlights from his recent journeys around the world, exploring points of astronomical interest, and in 2014, he launched a series of light-hearted science lectures called Fred Watson Presents.

In 2003, Fred received the David Allen Prize for communicating astronomy to the public, and in 2006 was the winner of the Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science. In January 2010, Fred was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to astronomy, particularly the promotion and popularisation of space science through public outreach.

Fred has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson), but says that if it hits the Earth, it won't be his fault...

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$30 - signed by author

The history of the telescope is a rich story of ingenuity and perseverance involving some of the most colourful figures of the scientific world. It begins in ancient times, gathers momentum through the Renaissance, with the first recorded telescope bursting onto the scene in the middle of a diplomatic crisis in seventeenth century Holland, and takes us to the limits of space with the cutting-edge telescopes of today.

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$35 - signed by author

Watson presents the most up-to-date knowledge on everything from light echoing around the cosmos, the mechanics of black holes and how to navigate the hidden delights of nightfall, to the most profound questions facing humankind. With mind-bending stories from the frontiers of science, Cosmic Chronicles is an expert’s view of what we know and how we know it.

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$30 - signed by author

Have you ever wondered what dark matter is or why galaxies collide? Or why the Moon is gradually drifting away from Earth? Space is really, really big, as Douglas Adams once pointed out, and there is no better guide to it than Fred Watson, astronomer to the stars.Fred Watson has taken the many, many questions that have been asked by listeners of his popular, long-running radio shows, and answered them in Why Is Uranus Upside Down?

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$30 - signed by author

In this light-hearted, informative and engaging book, Fred travels to some of those far-flung destinations as he weaves the epic story of humankind's growing understanding of the Universe. It's a grand adventure and the Professor is a witty, funny and knowledgeable companion. Come along on a journey that is sure to take you out of this world...

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