Professor Belinda Wilkes
Royal Society Wolfson Visiting Fellow, School of Physics, University of Bristol, UK

Senior Astrophysicist & Former Director, Chandra X-ray Center, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge MA USA

This lecture is sponsored by The Friends of Pershore Abbey and will take place in Pershore Abbey WR10 1BB on the evening of 29th April 2022, at 7:00pm

Tickets are now available

For tickets apply to

In aid of The Friends of Pershore Abbey

Doors open 6.00pm Refreshments Free

Entry £15. Students Free.

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched on 23 July 1999 by the Space Shuttle Columbia. Now in its 22nd year of operations, Chandra continues to be an indispensable tool for expanding the frontiers of knowledge throughout astrophysics. Chandra’s uniquely high (sub-arcsec) spatial, and spectral resolution have facilitated the deepest and sharpest images of the X-ray sky and the highest quality X-ray spectra to date. Its broad capabilities allow continuous expansion of its science based on new discoveries and facilities , e.g. the Event Horizon Telescope, NASA/ESA’s JWST (“Webb”, launched 25 Dec 2021). I will review Chandra’s launch and unique capabilities, and take us on a tour of some of the most spectacular discoveries across the whole range of celestial sources. These include the birth and death of stars, super-massive black holes, the first quasars, clusters of galaxies, dark matter, merging neutron stars, and more.


Dr. Belinda Wilkes is a Senior Astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics  Harvard & Smithsonian. She served as Director of the Chandra X-ray Center, which operates NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory on contract with NASA. She is currently a Royal Society Wolfson Visiting Fellow at the School of Physics, University of Bristol.

Dr. Wilkes received her BSc (Hons) in Astronomy and Physics from St. Andrews University, Scotland in 1978 and her PhD in Astronomy from Jesus College, University of Cambridge, England in 1982. She spent two years as a NATO postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory, and moved to CfA’s High Energy Astrophysics Division in 1984. She is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, American Astronomical Society, American Physical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Cambridge Philosophical Society, and a member of the International Astronomical Union, and the European Astronomical Society. She has received numerous awards, including many SI Exceptional Accomplishment Awards, 5 NASA Group Achievement Awards, and a NASA MSFC Director’s Commendation. In 2018 she was elected an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge University.

Dr. Wilkes’ research involves X-ray and multi-wavelength studies of active galaxies: super-massive black holes in galaxy nuclei. She is author and co-author of over 470 science publications,including 166 refereed papers (11,700 citations, H-index 58), two books, several book chapters, and multiple articles and interviews in the public media.