Biography

Early years

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.

Astronomy career

Lisa earned a Masters degree in 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 leads a group of 30 scientists at Australia's radio telescope national facility. She retains an active program of research and has published more than 40 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 supervises three Ph.D. students.

Public Understanding of Science

Lisa is a presenter on the popular ABC television show ABC Stargazing Live. She has appeared as a guest on numerous shows including BBC Stargazing Live, Brian Cox: Life Of A Universe and Todd Sampson's Life on the Line. She is a regular fielding science questions on radio phone-in shows including science hour with Dr. Karl on ABC Triple J and BBC Radio 5 Live. She has hosted several major events at venues including SXSW in Austin, Texas, the World Science Festival in Brisbane, the Sydney Science Festival launch event and the Uluru astronomy weekend at Voyages Ayers Rock Resort.


Lisa's first popular science book "When Galaxies Collide" (Melbourne University Publishing) launches on 30 July 2018 - pre-order it here. Lisa was a contributing author of Patrick Moore's Yearbook of Astronomy 2016 (Pan Macmillan). She has given more than 100 interviews on television, radio and in the press. 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