Lisa Harvey-Smith

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Lisa Harvey-Smith
Lisa Harvey-Smith 2014 at MAS.jpg
Lisa Harvey-Smith in 2014 at the Macarthur Astronomy Forum
Born1979 (age 39–40)
ResidenceSydney, NSW, Australia
EducationBraintree College
Alma materNewcastle University (MPhys)
The University of Manchester (PhD)
Known forAustralian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP)
When Galaxies Collide[1]
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of New South Wales
University of Sydney
Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe
Jodrell Bank Observatory
ThesisStudies of OH and methanol masers in regions of massive star formation
Doctoral advisorR. J. Cohen[3]

Lisa Harvey-Smith (born 1979) is a British-Australian astrophysicist, Australia's first Women in STEM Ambassador and Professor of Practice in Science Communication at the University of NSW.

Prior to October 2018 she was a research scientist at the CSIRO, based in Sydney, New South Wales as a Research Group Leader at CSIRO's Australia Telescope National Facility's Science Program. Her research interests included the origin and evolution of cosmic magnetism, supernova remnants, the interstellar medium, massive star formation and astrophysical masers.[4]

She was previously the Project Scientist for CSIRO's Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), during which time she led the development of the ASKAP Early Science Program,[5] which began in 2015.[6][7][8]

She was a presenter on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation television series Stargazing Live and the associated program Stargazing Live: Back to Earth in 2016. In the same year, she was a guest on the BBC series Stargazing Live and on Episode 6 (buoyancy) of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation series Todd Sampson's Life on the Line.


Harvey-Smith attended Finchingfield Primary School, where her mother was the headteacher. She was home educated between 1991 and 1996.[9]

Harvey-Smith attended Braintree College. She obtained her Master of Physics degree at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2002 and was awarded her PhD in Radio Astronomy at Jodrell Bank Observatory from the University of Manchester in 2005 supervised by R. J. Cohen.[3]

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 show University Challenge, narrowly defeating the British Library.[citation needed]

Career and research[edit]

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.[10][11][12]

In 2007, Harvey-Smith 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[13] and a study of large-scale magnetic fields in galactic regions of ionised gas surrounding massive star clusters.[14] 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, Harvey-Smith was Chair of the Australia Telescope National Facility's Telescope Time Assignment Committee.[15] 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 that Harvey-Smith had accepted the title Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) until 30 April 2019.[citation needed] In 2018 she was appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Computing, Engineering, and Maths at Western Sydney University.

In 2018 she was appointed as Australia's first Women in STEM Ambassador[16] and in January 2019 as Professor of Practice in Science Communication at the University of NSW.[17]

Square Kilometre Array[edit]

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[18] and with site preparations. The telescope is currently in its design phase[19] 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".[20] In May 2012 it was announced that the SKA would be constructed in both Australia and Southern Africa.[21]

In August 2012 CSIRO announced that, on taking up her new role with ASKAP, Harvey-Smith will remain an active member of the SKA Science Working Group. The SKA organisation has since announced that she is an associate member of the SKA Magnetism Science Working Group[22] During her term as SKA Project Scientist, 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[23] that Harvey-Smith had been appointed CSIRO Project Scientist for the ASKAP telescope.

Public understanding of science[edit]

In 2015, Harvey-Smith performed several live events on-stage, including her self-penned "Stargayzing"[24] show at Sydney Observatory as part of Sydney Mardi Gras.[25] She opened the Think Inc. show "An Evening with Neil DeGrasse Tyson"[26] at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion to a sold-out audience of 4,000 people. In 2016, the events company Live on Stage Australia announced Harvey-Smith as the host of a national tour titled The Last Man on the Moon, with Eugene Cernan. She had previously appeared as a special guest in their Sydney show Buzz Aldrin: Mission to Mars.[citation needed]

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. Other television appearances include a feature on Australia Wide, Landline, the ABC Splash Live Event for World Space Week,[27] ABC News 24, 702 ABC Sydney. She has also appeared on radio numerous times including the science hour on Triple J with Karl Kruszelnicki and The Science Show on ABC Radio National with Robyn Williams. In 2012, Lisa gave the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics Public Lecture, which is broadcast regularly by TVOntario as part of the Big Ideas TV series.

Harvey-Smith has also featured in Women's Health, The Age, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald, The Sunday Telegraph and Al Jazeera English.[citation needed] She has written articles for The Conversation[28] and ABC Science.[29] 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[30] at Leichhardt Public School as part of the CSIRO Scientists in Schools Program.[31] She has made several visits to the Pia Wadjari Community School in Western Australia to lead astronomy activities and mentor students.[32] She has appeared at the Bluedot Festival.[33]

Her first book, titled When Galaxies Collide was published in July 2018.[1]

Women in Astronomy[edit]

From 2012 to 2015 Harvey-Smith served as Chair of the steering committee of the Women in Astronomy Chapter of the Astronomical Society of Australia.[34] During that time she presided over the launch of a new national gender equity scheme for astronomers in Australia called The Pleiades Awards.[35]

In May 2017 she was announced as the ambassador for Science & Technology Australia's Superstars of STEM initiative.

In October 2018, Harvey-Smith was selected as Australia's first Women in STEM Ambassador. She will spearhead the Government's effort to encourage girls and women to study and work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields on a national scale.[16]

Awards and honours[edit]

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,[36] after being a finalist in 2015 Eureka Prize.[37] In November 2012, The Sydney Morning Herald included Harvey-Smith in its "Top One Hundred: Sydney's Most Influential People".[38]


  1. ^ a b Harvey-Smith, Lisa (2018). When Galaxies Collide. ISBN 0522873197.
  2. ^ Lisa Harvey-Smith publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ a b Harvey-Smith, Lisa (2005). Studies of OH and methanol masers in regions of massive star formation (PhD thesis). University of Manchester. OCLC 643585588. Copac 36712145.
  4. ^ "Lisa Harvey-Smith on The Conversation". Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  5. ^ "ASKAP Early Science". ATNF. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  6. ^ jurisdiction=Commonwealth, scheme=AGLSTERMS.AglsAgent; corporateName=CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility; address=PO Box 76 Epping NSW 1710 Australia; contact=+61 2 9372 4100 (phone),+61 2 9372 4310 (fax); (25 April 2018). "Lisa Harvey-Smith - CSIRO Research Group Leader".
  7. ^ "Lisa Harvey-Smith on the SKA mega-telescope - TVO Main". 27 September 2012.
  8. ^ "International Astronomical Union - IAU".
  9. ^ "The end of the Milky Way". ABC Radio Australia. 14 November 2018.
  10. ^ Harvey-Smith, L; Soria-Ruiz, R; Duarte-Cabral, A; Cohen, R. J (2008). "First images of 6.7-GHz methanol masers in DR21(OH) and DR21(OH)N". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 384 (2): 719. arXiv:0711.2783. Bibcode:2008MNRAS.384..719H. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2007.12737.x.
  11. ^ Harvey-Smith, L; Soria-Ruiz, R (2008). "European VLBI Network observations of 6.7-GHz methanol masers in a candidate circumstellar disc". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 391 (3): 1273. arXiv:0809.1955. Bibcode:2008MNRAS.391.1273H. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13945.x.
  12. ^ Vlemmings, W. H. T; Harvey-Smith, L; Cohen, R. J (2006). "Methanol maser polarization in W3(OH)". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters. 371: L26. arXiv:astro-ph/0606300. Bibcode:2006MNRAS.371L..26V. doi:10.1111/j.1745-3933.2006.00201.x.
  13. ^ Harvey-Smith, L; Gaensler, B. M; Kothes, R; Townsend, R; Heald, G. H; Ng, C.-Y; Green, A. J (2010). "Faraday Rotation of the Supernova Remnant G296.5+10.0: Evidence for a Magnetized Progenitor Wind". The Astrophysical Journal. 712 (2): 1157. arXiv:1001.3462. Bibcode:2010ApJ...712.1157H. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/712/2/1157.
  14. ^ Harvey-Smith, L; Madsen, G. J; Gaensler, B. M (2011). "Magnetic Fields in Large-diameter H II Regions Revealed by the Faraday Rotation of Compact Extragalactic Radio Sources". The Astrophysical Journal. 736 (2): 83. arXiv:1106.0931. Bibcode:2011ApJ...736...83H. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/736/2/83.
  15. ^ "ATNF Time Assignment Committee".
  16. ^ a b Smon, Bernadette (13 October 2018). "First Women in STEM Ambassador".
  17. ^ z3525972 (15 January 2019). "World-renowned astrophysicist and champion of women in STEM joins UNSW". UNSW Newsroom.
  18. ^ "Lisa Harvey-Smith - Australian SKA Pathfinder Project Scientist". Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  19. ^ Rob Waugh (26 March 2012). "Square Kilometre Array: World's most powerful telescope 'SKA' to be built in 2016 | Mail Online". London: Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  20. ^ "The technology". SKA Telescope. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  21. ^ "Dual site agreed for Square Kilometre Array telescope". SKA Telescope. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  22. ^ "SKA Cosmic Magnetism Working Group Members".
  23. ^ "ASKAP Project Update 2" (PDF).
  24. ^ "Stargayzing". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.
  25. ^ "Stargayzing". Archived from the original on 21 March 2015.
  26. ^ "An evening with Neil DeGrasse Tyson".
  27. ^ "ABC Splash Live event for World Space Week".
  28. ^ "The Conversation Author: Lisa Harvey-Smith". The Conversation. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  29. ^ "Opinion: Big Science Needs a Big Telescope". ABC Science. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  30. ^ "Astrophysicist Lisa Harvey-Smith it doing the Scientists in Schools Program in Leichhardt".
  31. ^ "Scientists in Schools Program".
  32. ^ "Universe@CSIRO Blog". CSIRO. Archived from the original on 17 March 2014.
  33. ^ "Lisa Harvey-Smith – Bluedot Festival". Bluedot Festival.
  34. ^ "Steering Committee | Women in Astronomy". Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  35. ^ "The Pleiades Awards;". Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  36. ^ "2016 Eureka Prizes Winners announced". The Australian Museum. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  37. ^ "2015 Eureka Prizes full list of finalists". Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  38. ^ "the(sydney) magazine's Top 100 Most Influential People". The Sydney Morning Herald.