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Dr John Mason
Many of our tours are accompanied by astronomy expert Dr John Mason. An applied physicist by profession, John has been actively involved in science for over 30 years, with astronomy, astrophysics and space technology as his main areas of expertise. He was a Visiting Lecturer at Imperial College, London until 1986, and has lectured at several colleges within the University of London. He is currently Principal Lecturer at the South Downs Planetarium and Science Centre in Chichester.
- Former President of the British Astronomical Association
- International Affiliate Member of the American Astronomical Society
- Honorary Member of the Astronomical-Geodesical Society of Russia
- Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Acting Director the Meteor Section of the British Astronomical Association
Dr Mason lectures extensively in the UK and overseas on a wide range of scientific topics to audiences of all ages and varying degrees of expertise. He is a sought-after speaker with an international reputation as an enthusiastic and entertaining communicator of science. His 'living planetarium' presentations have been enjoyed by audiences in Kruger National Park, the Masai Mara, Sinai Desert and the Australian Outback. His largest ever live audience was 7,500 at Mildura Racetrack, Australia.
He is a frequent broadcaster on radio and television and has appeared many times with Sir Patrick Moore on BBC TV's The Sky at Night. He has been Science Producer, Series Producer or Science Editor of several award-winning TV series or documentaries, shown on the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK and worldwide on various networks including Discovery Channel.
Dr Mason has also published numerous technical and more popular articles in journals, magazines and newspapers, and has authored or edited over 70 books on astronomy, astrophysics, space exploration and the Earth sciences. He is currently Co-Editor of the Yearbook of Astronomy published by Pan Macmillan, and is Chief Subject Advisory Editor for Springer-Praxis books in Astronomy and Planetary Sciences and Space Exploration.
For over 30 years he has been leading overseas expeditions to observe and record natural phenomena such as annular and total solar eclipses, the polar aurora and major meteor showers to destinations as diverse as Alaska, Australia, Chile, China, Egypt, Hawaii, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Libya, Mongolia, Palau, Scandinavia, Siberia, South Africa, Venezuela, French Polynesia and Zimbabwe.
In September 2000, the asteroid 1990 MN was named 6092 Johnmason by the International Astronomical Union in recognition of his various contributions to astronomy.
Dr Mason was made an MBE in the 2009 New Year's Honours List for his services to science education, particularly at the South Downs Planetarium and Science Centre.