A SALTCOATS man has been appointed a member of the Royal Society for his amazing contributions as a astrophysicist.

Former St Mary's Primary pupil Professor Michael (Mike) Garrett was elected into the Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS) last month.

He has been heavily involved in the work at the giant radio telescope at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire - and the search for extraterrestrial life.

The award is only granted to those who have made "a substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science".

Only 85 Fellows are elected each year from a pool of around 700 who are proposed, with the award described as "the equivalent of a lifetime achievement Oscar".

The distinguished award has been given to some of the most distinguished scientists in history, including: Sir Isaac Newton; Albert Einstein; Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk.

Now Saltcoats man Michael, a former St Andrew's Academy pupil, can now add his name to that list alongside around 1,750 other living Fellows.

He is a more than worthy addition having made an outstanding contribution in the field of astrophysics.

Jodrell BankJodrell Bank (Image: Jodrell Bank)

The 59-year-old first left Saltcoats in 1982 as he went on to complete an astronomy degree at the University of Glasgow, achieving first class honours.

After graduating in 1986, he achieved his second degree four years later when he became a Doctor of Philosophy in Radio Astronomy at the University of Manchester.

He now works within the English university, as the Sir Bernard Lovell Chair of Astrophysics as well as being a director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics.

His main scientific focus at present is searching for anomalies in large astronomical data sets, looking for the signature of energy-intensive extraterrestrial civilisations across the electromagnetic spectrum.

He is chair of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)  Committee and serves on the scientific advisory boards of both the SETI Institute and Breakthrough Listen.

Previously, he was general and scientific director of ASTRON - the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy - and responsible for the final design, construction, and operational phases of the International Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) Telescope.

Between 2003 and 2007 he was director of the Joint Institute for Very-Long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) in Europe.

His work there saw signals from an astronomical radio sources, such as a quasar, collected at multiple radio telescopes on Earth or in space, increasing the search through space.