Lisa Harvey-Smith

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Lisa Harvey-Smith
Born 1979
Harlow, Essex, England
Residence Sydney, Australia
Citizenship British/Australian
Fields Physicist (astrophysics)
Institutions CSIRO, Astronomy & Space Science; University of Sydney; Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe
Alma mater Jodrell Bank Observatory, The University of Manchester, University of Newcastle-upon Tyne
Doctoral advisor Dr. Jim Cohen
Doctoral students Shaila Akhter
Known for

Astronomer, Speaker, Writer

CSIRO Project Scientist for SKA 2009-2012; CSIRO Project Scientist for ASKAP 2012-
Notable awards

CSIRO Chairman's Medal 2015 (ASKAP Team) Finalist, Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Public Understanding of Australian Science Research (2015)

Sydney Morning Herald Top 100: Most Influential People (2012)
Lisa Harvey-Smith in 2014 at the Macarthur Astronomy Forum

Dr. Lisa Harvey-Smith is an astrophysicist at the CSIRO, based in Sydney, NSW, Australia. Her research interests include the origin and evolution of cosmic magnetism, supernova remnants, the interstellar medium, massive star formation and astrophysical masers.[1]

Harvey-Smith is the Project Scientist for CSIRO's Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder Telescope ASKAP. She leads the ASKAP Early Science Program,[2] which is expected to begin in 2015. She is also responsible for ensuring that engineering advances within the project are aligned with the scientific goals of the ASKAP science surveys.[3]

Lisa Harvey-Smith is an influential communicator of science. She was awarded the 2016 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Public Understanding of Australian Science Research. In November 2012, the Sydney Morning Herald included Dr. Harvey-Smith in its "Top One Hundred: Sydney's Most Influential People".[4]


Dr. Harvey-Smith attended Finchingfield Primary School, where her mother was the headteacher. She was home educated (Unschooled) between 1991 and 1996, during which time she received no formal instruction but instead, learned what interested her.

Harvey-Smith attended Braintree College where she studied advanced level Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and General Studies. She was awarded Student of the Year in 1998 for academic and sporting achievements. She obtained her Master of Physics (Honours) at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2002 and was awarded her Ph.D. in Radio Astronomy at Jodrell Bank Observatory from the University of Manchester in 2005.

Whilst an undergraduate in 2004, she carried out a Summer Research Studentship at Max-Planck-Institut fur Radioastronomie on image deconstruction using the wavelet transform. During that year she was a member of the Jodrell Bank Observatory team on the BBC television quiz University Challenge, narrowly defeating the British Library.


Harvey-Smith worked as a Support Scientist at the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe in the Netherlands, where she carried out real-time testing of the European VLBI Network telescope array, was responsible for science data quality control and took part in some of the first global real-time electronic VLBI experiments. During this time she worked on polarimetric studies of galactic masers and their relation to magnetic fields in regions of massive star-formation.[5][6][7]

In 2007 she was appointed a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The University of Sydney, where she published work on the role of magnetic fields in the shaping of supernova remnants[8] and a study of large-scale magnetic fields in galactic regions of ionised gas surrounding massive star clusters.[9] In 2009 Harvey-Smith was appointed to the position of Research Astronomer and Square Kilometre Array Project Scientist at CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science, Australia.

From 2009 until 2011 Dr. Harvey-Smith was Chair of the Australia Telescope National Facility's Telescope Time Assignment Committee.[10] She is a current member of the School of Physics Advisory Committee at the University of New South Wales.

On 25 May 2016 it was announced[11] that Harvey-Smith had accepted the title Adjunct Associate Professor at UNSW (The University of New South Wales) until 30 April 2019.

Square Kilometre Array[edit]

Dr. Harvey-Smith occupied a pivotal role as CSIRO Square Kilometre Array Project Scientist from 2009-2012: developing the SKA's science case; contributing to science and engineering developments; and playing a leading scientific role in the Australia & New Zealand bid to host the SKA[12] and with site preparations.

The SKA is a proposed radio telescope with an unprecedented one million square metres of collecting area, which will make it fifty times more sensitive than any other radio instrument. The telescope is currently in its design phase[13] and has been described as "a revolutionary break from traditional radio telescope design" which is expected to "drive technology development, particularly in information and communication technology".[14]

In May 2012 it was announced that the SKA would be constructed in both Australia and Southern Africa.[15]

In August 2012 CSIRO announced that, on taking up her new role with ASKAP, she will remain an active member of the SKA Science Working Group. The SKA organisation has since announced that Dr. Harvey-Smith is an associate member of the SKA Magnetism Science Working Group [16]

Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder[edit]

During her term as SKA Project Scientist, Dr. Harvey-Smith was involved with Australia & New Zealand's site preparations for the Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope (ASKAP), currently being commissioned at Murchison, Western Australia.

In August 2012, CSIRO announced[17] that Dr Harvey-Smith had been appointed CSIRO Project Scientist for the ASKAP telescope.

Harvey-Smith is a member of the ASKAP commissioning and early science team. She manages the stakeholder relationship between ASKAP and the science user community, gathering science requirements and working with the ASKAP project team to ensure that these are fulfilled. She is currently developing the ASKAP Early Science Program,[18] which will begin in 2016.

Public Understanding of Science[edit]

Harvey-Smith is an acclaimed speaker, writer and communicator of science. In 2015 Dr. Harvey-Smith performed several live events on-stage, including her self-penned "Stargayzing"[19] show at Sydney Observatory as part of Sydney Mardi Gras[20] and opened "An Evening with Neil DeGrasse Tyson"[21] at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion to a sold-out audience of 4000 people.

She frequently appears on radio and television, most commonly the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Recent appearances include the ABC Splash Live Event for World Space Week,[22] ABC News 24, 702 ABC Sydney and The Science Show on ABC Radio National with Robyn Williams. In 2012, Lisa gave the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics Public Lecture, which is broadcast regularly by TVOntario as part of the Big Ideas TV Series. In December 2012 Harvey-Smith was named in the(sydney)magazine's list of Sydney's 100 most influential people.

Harvey-Smith has also featured in Women's Health (magazine), The Age, The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun Herald, The Sunday Telegraph and Al Jazeera English. She has written articles for The Conversation[23] and ABC Science.[24] Her article about the Square Kilometre Array in Patrick Moore's Yearbook of Astronomy 2016 was published by Pan MacMillan in November 2015.

Harvey-Smith is a guest science teacher[25] at Leichhardt Public School as part of the CSIRO Scientists in Schools Program.[26] She has made several visits to the Pia Wadjari Community School in Western Australia to lead astronomy activities and mentor students.[27]

On 31 August 2016, Harvey-Smith was awarded the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research,[28] after being a finalist in 2015 Eureka Prize.

In April 2017, Harvey-Smith appeared as co-host, along with Professor Brian Cox and Julia Zemiro, in the three-part ABC Television version of the BBC programme Stargazing Live.

Women in Astronomy[edit]

From 2012-15 Harvey-Smith served as Chair of the steering committee of the Women in Astronomy Chapter of the Astronomical Society of Australia.[29] During that time she presided over the launch of a new national gender equity scheme for astronomers in Australia called The Pleiades Awards.[30]


She is an athlete who participates regularly in ultra-marathon events.[31]

Related Lists[edit]


  1. ^ "Lisa Harvey-Smith on The Conversation". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  2. ^ "ASKAP Early Science". ATNF. Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  3. ^ "ASKAP Science Surveys". ATNF. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 
  4. ^ "the(sydney) magazine's Top 100 Most Influential People". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  5. ^ "First images of 6.7-GHz methanol masers in DR21(OH) and DR21(OH)N". 
  6. ^ "European VLBI Network observations of 6.7-GHz methanol masers in a candidate circumstellar disc". 
  7. ^ "Methanol maser polarization in W3(OH)". 
  8. ^ "Faraday Rotation of the Supernova Remnant G296.5+10.0: Evidence for a Magnetized Progenitor Wind". 
  9. ^ "Magnetic Fields in Large-diameter H II Regions Revealed by the Faraday Rotation of Compact Extragalactic Radio Sources". 
  10. ^ "ATNF Time Assignment Committee". 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Lisa Harvey-Smith - Australian SKA Pathfinder Project Scientist". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  13. ^ Rob Waugh (2012-03-26). "Square Kilometre Array: World's most powerful telescope 'SKA' to be built in 2016 | Mail Online". London: Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  14. ^ "The technology". SKA Telescope. 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  15. ^ "Dual site agreed for Square Kilometre Array telescope". SKA Telescope. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  16. ^ "SKA Cosmic Magnetism Working Group Members". 
  17. ^ "ASKAP Project Update 2" (PDF). 
  18. ^ "ASKAP Early Science Program" (PDF). 
  19. ^ "Stargayzing". 
  20. ^ "Stargayzing". 
  21. ^ "An evening with Neil DeGrasse Tyson". 
  22. ^ "ABC Splash Live event for World Space Week". 
  23. ^ "The Conversation Author: Lisa Harvey-Smith". The Conversation. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 
  24. ^ "Opinion: Big Science Needs a Big Telescope". ABC Science. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  25. ^ "Astrophysicist Lisa Harvey-Smith it doing the Scientists in Schools Program in Leichhardt". 
  26. ^ "Scientists in Schools Program". 
  27. ^ "Universe@CSIRO Blog". CSIRO. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Steering Committee | Women in Astronomy". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  30. ^ "The Pleiades Awards;". Retrieved 2015-03-07. 
  31. ^ "Ultra-Marathon". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 

See also[edit]