Mariana Cook’s book, “Faces of Science,” portrays 77 scientists who have made many of the most important discoveries of our time. Each photograph is accompanied by a personal essay written by the scientists. The portraits in this online series are accompanied by excerpts from those essays. For more information, please visit Mariana Cook’s website: www.cookstudio.com.
Martin Rees - Photos and Text ©Mariana Cook “Faces of Science”
I grew up in a Shropshire village—rather remote and beautiful country in the west of England—where my parents were schoolteachers. I can’t claim to have had any special infatuation with science during my childhood. I was interested in numbers, and in natural history, but shifted toward mathematics and physics more because I was bad at languages than for any positive reason. However, I was fortunate in my schooling, and gained entry to Trinity College, Cambridge. By the time I graduated, I realized that I wasn’t cut out to be a mathematician, so I tried to find a subject where a more synthetic style of thinking was needed—for various extraneous reasons, the choice narrowed down to economics or astrophysics.
I chose astrophysics, which proved a lucky choice for two reasons.