Lisa Kewley

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Lisa Jennifer Kewley
Born 1974 (age 43–44)
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Nationality Australian
Alma mater University of Adelaide
Australian National University
Awards The Bok Prize (1996)
Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy (2005)
Newton Lacy Pierce Prize (2008)
Australian Financial Review & Westpac
100 Women of Influence (Innovation) (2014)
Scientific career
Fields Astronomy

Lisa Jennifer Kewley (born 1974) is a Professor and Associate Director at the Research School for Astronomy & Astrophysics at the Australian National University College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.[1] Specialising in galaxy evolution, she won the Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy in 2005 for her studies of oxygen in galaxies, and the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in Astronomy in 2008. In 2014 she was elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.


Kewley was raised in South Australia. Her parents encouraged engagement with the sciences and she was influenced by a high school physics teacher, and participation at a school stargazing camp, to become interested in astronomy.[2] After school, she enrolled in a Bachelor of Science at the Adelaide University, graduating with a BSc (Hons) in astrophysics.[3] She then moved to Canberra to pursue a doctorate in astrophysics at the Australian National University, which was awarded in 2002.[4] In 2001, she spent some time in the USA as a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University.[2] During this time she co-authored a paper in The Astrophysical Journal, called "Theoretical Modeling of Starburst Galaxies",[5] which as of 2016 was her most-cited publication.[6]

After completing her doctorate, Kewley moved to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Boston on a CfA fellowship, working on the formation and evolution of stars.[3] Her mentors there included American astrophysicist Margaret Geller.[2] Awarded a Hubble postdoctoral fellowship in 2004, she then continued her work at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawai'i in 2005. Kewley was part of a team that used re-analysis of a Hubble telescope image to identify a distant galaxy 9.3 billion light years distant.[7] She then worked with the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, analysing data on the oxygen content of this and other galaxies of different ages, contributing to the understanding of their evolution. For this research, in 2005 she received the Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy.[4] There was further recognition of her work in 2008, when Kewley won the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in Astronomy, awarded by the American Astronomical Society.[8] The award was for her research "that has shown how the properties of a galaxy depend on how long ago it was formed".[9] Her work studied the variation in properties of old and new galaxies, including oxygen richness, star formation rate, and the characteristics of the galaxy's nucleus.[9]

In 2011, Kewley returned to Australia as a professor for the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University.[10]

In 2014, Kewley was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.[11]

She married her husband Reuben in Canberra in 2001, shortly before they moved to Boston.[2] They have a son (born 2008) and a daughter (born 2011), both born when she was living and working in Hawai'i.[2]


  1. ^ "Professor Lisa Kewley". ANU Researchers. Australian National University. 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "In pursuit of two goals: An award-winning astronomer who needs both career and family". Gender Institute. Australian National University. 7 November 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Lisa Kewley". Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai'i. 2006. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Kewley Wins National Astronomy Award". Nā Kilo Hōkū (Newsletter of the Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawai'i (18). 2006. 
  5. ^ Kewley, L. J.; Dopita, M. A.; Sutherland, R. S.; Heisler, C. A.; Trevena, J. (2001). "Theoretical Modeling of Starburst Galaxies". The Astrophysical Journal. 556 (1): 121–140. arXiv:astro-ph/0106324Freely accessible. Bibcode:2001ApJ...556..121K. doi:10.1086/321545. 
  6. ^ "Lisa Kewley citation indices". Google Scholar. 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Ferrara, Michele; Marcel Clemens (2 June 2011). "Sp1149 and the perfect gravitational lens". Astrofilo. Astro Publishing. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in Astronomy". American Astronomical Society. 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "UH Astronomers Win American Astronomical Society Prizes". Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai'i. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Bhathal, Ragbir; Ralph Sutherland; Harvey Butcher (2013). Mt Stromlo Observatory: From Bush Observatory to the Nobel Prize. CSIRO Publishing. p. 260. ISBN 1486300766. 
  11. ^ "Fellows elected in 2014". Australian Academy of Sciences. 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 

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