Lisa Harvey-Smith was born in Essex, England. She left school at the age of 11 and taught herself at home, where she developed a great passion for astronomy. She joined her local amateur astronomical society in 1992, where she first learned to use a telescope and never looked back. Her early space heroes included Patrick Moore and Britain's first astronaut Helen Sharman.
Lisa earned a Masters of Physics with Honours in Astronomy & Astrophysics from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and a Ph.D. in Radio Astronomy from Jodrell Bank Observatory at the University of Manchester, before embarking on a professional career in astronomy. A two-month research project at the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany was followed by a two-year stint at The Joint Institute for Very Long Baseline Interferometry in Europe (JIVE) in the Netherlands. She finally moved to Australia, where she has been based for the past decade.
Lisa has spent much of her career working to maintain and develop professional astronomical observatories. She currently heads the science operations for Australia's radio telescope national facility. Lisa retains an active program of research and has published 35 refereed scientific papers on topics as varied as the birth and death of stars, cosmic magnetic fields and supermassive black holes. She serves on several scientific advisory committees and is currently supervising two Ph.D. students.
Lisa is a talented science communicator and winner of the Eureka Prize for Public Understanding of Australian Science Research 2016. She was a contributing author of Patrick Moore's Yearbook of Astronomy 2016 (Pan Macmillan) and has given more than 100 interviews on television, radio and in the press. Lisa has appeared on several ABC television and radio shows including Catalyst, Landline, ABC News 24, Radio National, ABC Local Radio and ABC Splash Live. In March and April 2017 she will feature in two new ABC science series, Todd Sampson's Life on the Line and Stargazing Live with Brian Cox. Lisa presented her own astronomy show called 'Stargayzing' for Sydney Mardi Gras 2015. She appeared live on stage to sold-out theatres across Australia in Buzz Aldrin: Mission to Mars and Gene Cernan: Last Man on the Moon, presented by Live on Stage Australia and An Audience with Neil deGrasse Tyson, presented by Think Inc. Lisa was named in the Sydney Morning Herald's 100 Most Influential People in 2012.
Image: Live on Stage Australia