Ian Crawford (astrobiologist)

Ian Andrew Crawford FRAS (born 1961)[2] is a British professor of planetary science and astrobiology at Birkbeck, University of London in the United Kingdom.[3]

Ian Crawford
Ian Andrew Crawford

1961 (age 62–63)[2]
EducationNorth Cestrian Grammar School
Alma materUniversity College London (BSc, PhD)
Newcastle University (MSc)
Scientific career
InstitutionsBirkbeck, University of London
University College London
ThesisA study of the interstellar medium towards the Scorpius OB1 association (1988)
Doctoral studentsKatherine Joy[1]

Education and early life


Born in Warrington, Cheshire, Crawford was educated at North Cestrian Grammar School in Greater Manchester from 1972 to 1979.[2] Crawford studied Astronomy at University College London (BSc, 1982) followed by Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Newcastle University (MSc, 1983). He was awarded a PhD in Astrophysics from University College London in 1988 for research on the interstellar medium.

Career and research


Crawford is a specialist in the science and exploration of the Moon and in the search for life in the Universe. Before switching his research interests to planetary science in 2003, Crawford had a 15-year career at University College London as an observational astronomer specializing in studies of the interstellar medium.[3] He is the author of over 130 peer-reviewed research papers in the fields of astronomy, planetary science, astrobiology and space exploration.[4]

In 2021, Crawford edited a book, Expanding Worldviews: Astrobiology, Big History and Cosmic Perspectives, which explores the links between the academic disciplines of astrobiology and big history and their wider relevance to society.[5]

Crawford served as a Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society from 2017 to 2019.[2] He is a former member of the European Space Sciences Committee (ESSC) of the European Science Foundation and of the European Space Agency's Human Spaceflight and Exploration Science Advisory Committee (HESAC).[3]

Selected publications


Awards and honours


Crawford is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS). In 2021, he was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society's Service Award for Geophysics; the citation refers to his long-standing promotion of lunar science and human space exploration, his role as a mentor for young planetary scientists, and other contributions to the planetary science community. In 2023, Crawford was awarded the Michael J. Wargo NASA Exploration Science Award; the award is given to a scientist or engineer who has contributed significantly to the integration of space exploration and planetary science throughout their career.


  1. ^ Joy, Katherine Helen (2007). Studies in lunar geology and geochemistry using sample analysis and remote sensing measurements. ucl.ac.uk (PhD thesis). University College London (University of London). OCLC 890146048. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.445898.  
  2. ^ a b c d "Crawford, Prof. Ian Andrew". Who's Who (online Oxford University Press ed.). Oxford: A & C Black. 2017. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U258281. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ a b c Professor Ian Crawford. Birkbeck College. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Ian Crawford Publications". Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  5. ^ Crawford, I.A. (ed.) "Expanding Worldviews: Astrobiology, Big History and Cosmic Perspectives", Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings, Vol. 58, Springer (2021) doi:10.1007/978-3-030-70482-7
  6. ^ Who Speaks for Humanity? The Need for a Single Political Voice In: Astrobiology: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy, ed. O.A. Chon Torres et al., Scrivener Publishing, pp. 313-338, (2021)
  7. ^ "The Lunar Surface as a Recorder of Astrophysical Processes", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Vol. 379A, 20190562, 2021)
  8. ^ Crawford, I.A., "Widening Perspectives: The Intellectual and Social Benefits of Astrobiology (Regardless of Whether Extraterrestrial Life is Discovered or Not)"], International Journal of Astrobiology (Vol. 17, pp. 57-60, 2018) arXiv:1703.06239
  9. ^ "The Long-Term Scientific Benefits of a Space Economy", Space Policy (Vol. 37, pp. 58–61, 2016).arXiv:1607.04901
  10. ^ Lunar Resources: A Review Progress in Physical Geography (Vol. 39, pp. 137–167, 2015). arXiv:1410.6865
  11. ^ Crawford, Ian A. (2015). "Interplanetary Federalism: Maximising the Chances of Extraterrestrial Peace, Diversity and Liberty" (PDF). The Meaning of Liberty Beyond Earth. Space and Society. pp. 199–218. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-09567-7_13. ISBN 978-3-319-09566-0. ISSN 2199-3882. S2CID 150863252.
  12. ^ Crawford, I.A., "Avoiding Intellectual Stagnation: The Starship as an Expander of Minds", Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 67, 253-257, 2014 arXiv:1501.04249
  13. ^ Crawford, Ian A.; Joy, Katherine H. (2014). "Lunar exploration: opening a window into the history and evolution of the inner Solar System". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 372 (2024): 20130315. arXiv:1408.2587. doi:10.1098/rsta.2013.0315. ISSN 1364-503X. PMC 4128274. PMID 25114318.
  14. ^ Crawford, I.A. et al., "Back to the Moon: The Scientific Rationale for Resuming Lunar Surface Exploration", Planetary and Space Science, 74, 3-14, 2012 arXiv:1206.0749