STEVEN BALBUS is the Savilian Professor of Astronomy and the Head of Astrophysics at Oxford University. He is also a Professorial Fellow at New College, Oxford. For his work on turbulence in magnetised gaseous accretion discs, Balbus was awarded the 2013 Shaw Prize in Astronomy with J. Hawley. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Prior to coming to Oxford, Balbus held the post of Professor of Physics, Classe exceptionnelle, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris. While in France, Balbus was awarded a Chaire d’excellence and was a senior member of the Institut universitaire de France. Balbus delivered the 2011 Spitzer Lectures at Princeton University, and in 2012 was a Visiting Miller Professor at UC Berkeley. He has also taught at the University of Virginia. Balbus has published on a wide variety of topics in theoretical astrophysics. Recently, he has been pursuing cross-disciplinary studies involving the behaviour of palaeoceanographic tides and their possible role in promoting vertebrate colonisation of the land.