Observatory helps Martin set a shining example
A FORMER Batley Boys pupil who learned to reach for the stars visiting Wilton Park observatory has been included in the 2009 edition of Who's Who.
Astronomer Prof Martin Barstow's name will appear alongside next US president Barack Obama, James Bond star Daniel Craig and Welsh comedian Rob Brydon in the directory of the most influential people in the world.
A former pupil of Batley Boys' Grammar and Carlinghow Princess Royal schools, Prof Barstow, 50, is now head of physics and astronomy at the University of Leicester.
He became a member of the Milner Ford Observatory as a teenager, starting a lifelong love of star gazing.
His mother, Anona, who lives at York Drive, Upper Batley, remembers him taking parties of pupils to look through the observatory's telescope and has fond memories of taking the Cubs to visit him there.
She said: "It was a long time ago, but I still remember it. The first thing I saw through the telescope was Saturn with the rings round. When I looked at the moon it was amazing, it filled the whole of the lens."
Mrs Barstow believes her son's success was kick-started by becoming a member of the observatory. She said: "Martin was always interested in how things work. He used to try and put tent pegs together when he was too young to know what they were. The observatory gave him an interest in astrophysics. It's a shame that a lot of people don't know it's there."
Mrs Barstow said she and Martin's father, Brian, were very proud he was being featured in Who's Who.
"He's well-known in the Midlands because he's on TV a lot there and he's been on Channel Four several times but we were still surprised when we found out," she said.
After leaving school, Prof Barstow read physics at York University and then gained a PhD in Astrophysics from Leicester.
His 22-year-old daughter, Joanna, has followed her father into the field, gaining a degree in physics from Cambridge University and is reading astrophysics at Oxford. Current president of the Batley and Spen Astronomical Society Robert Morton said: "It's nice to know we've played a part in sparking his interest. That's why we keep the observatory going, in the hope that it will get people into astronomy."
Prof Barstow lives in Leicester with his wife Rachel and 16-year-old son Nicholas.
Published annually since 1849, Who's Who is a directory of 33,000 noteworthy and influential people in all walks of life, in the UK and worldwide.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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