Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith: cosmic magnetism and the Square Kilometre Array
Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith is using cutting-edge radio receivers mounted on telescopes to measure magnetic fields in the distant universe.
22 December 2011 | Updated 2 July 2012
Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith is a research astronomer at CSIRO's Astronomy and Space Science Division in Sydney. Her recent work has focused on studying a diverse range of astronomical regions, including massive stellar nurseries, gravitational lenses, distant galaxies containing super-massive black holes and the gaseous remnants of violent stellar explosions.
Dr Harvey-Smith's work includes many international collaborations. Two major projects she is currently focused on are the design of a survey called POSSUM, which when completed will be the most comprehensive survey of cosmic magnetic fields ever made, and Australia's involvement with the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
"My dream is that we build the SKA as an ambitious radio telescope capable of transformational science, which empowers generations of scientists to make discoveries that baffle, excite and inform in equal measure."
The SKA is a €1.5 billion project to design and build a radio telescope that is 10 000 times greater in discovery potential than any existing radio telescope.
In her role as CSIRO SKA Project Scientist, Dr Harvey-Smith is developing the SKA’s science case ensuring engineering advances and science goals remain aligned.
"My dream is that we build the SKA as an ambitious radio telescope capable of transformational science, which empowers generations of scientists to make discoveries that baffle, excite and inform in equal measure", Dr Harvey-Smith says.
Dr Harvey-Smith hopes the SKA will provide a catalyst for major growth in the public’s understanding and appreciation of science, similar to the social influence of the moon landing that still resonates in our culture today.
Dr Harvey-Smith grew up in the United Kingdom, and studied at both the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and the University of Manchester.
She then interned at the Max-Plank-Institut fuer Radioastronomie in Bonn, Germany, and came to work at the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe, Dwingeloo (The Netherlands).
After that Dr Harvey-Smith moved to Australia as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the University of Sydney before joining CSIRO in 2009.
Dr Harvey-Smith was awarded a:
- Masters of Physics (Honours), University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne,United Kingdom, 2002
- Doctor of Philosophy (Radio Astronomy), The University of Manchester, United Kingdom, 2005.
Dr Harvey-Smith's achievements include:
- Member, International SKA Science Working Group
- Chair, Australia Telescope Time Assignment Committee
- Member, International Astronomical Union
- Referee, The Astrophysical Journal, Astronomical Journal and MNRAS
- Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Support Scientist, Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe, Dwingeloo (The Netherlands)
- Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council Ph.D. Studentship, The University of Manchester
- Summer Studentship, Max-Plank-Institut fuer Radioastronomie, Bonn, Germany.
Dr Harvey-Smith has published 36 journal publications from 2004 to 2011.
Find out more about Astrophysics Research in CSIRO.