CSIRO's astronomy, spacecraft tracking and space science activities will be headed up by a new leader, with the announcement today that Dr Lewis Ball has been appointed as the incoming Chief for CSIRO's Astronomy and Space Science (CASS) division.

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Dr Ball returns to CSIRO from his present role as Deputy Director at the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) located in Chile. There he has led the successful commencement of ALMA's scientific operation, currently the world's largest and most complex astronomical observatory and a partnership involving 20 countries.

Previous to his ALMA appointment, Dr Ball had been with CSIRO for nine years in a number of management roles including leadership of CSIRO's astronomy division from February 2009 to May 2010, first as Acting Director of the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) and then as Acting Chief of Astronomy and Space Science.

As the new CASS Chief, Dr Ball will lead approximately 280 staff and be responsible for a world-class national research facility for radio astronomy that includes three existing radio telescopes, as well as the 36-dish Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder which begins operations this year.  Dr Ball will also be responsible for driving CSIRO's contribution to the first phase of the Square Kilometre Array telescope in Australia and for heading up, on behalf of NASA, the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex based at Tidbinbilla.

Dr Ball's appointment fills the role made vacant by Dr Phil Diamond, who left CSIRO in October 2012 to take up the position of Director General of the SKA Organisation.

Group Executive for CSIRO's Information Sciences, Dr David Williams, welcomed Dr Ball's appointment.

"Following an international recruitment search, we are delighted to see Lewis returning to CSIRO. Lewis has had enormous success in his career so far and we’re thrilled to have someone of such high calibre joining our leadership team," Dr Williams said.

Dr Ball added, "I look forward to enhancing and building on CSIRO's national and international reputation in the fields of radio astronomy and space science. I'm excited and honoured to be leading such a world-class team and thrilled to be a part of the international SKA effort."

Dr Ball will commence as Chief of CSIRO's Astronomy and Space Science division on March 18, 2013 and will be based at Marsfield in Sydney.

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  • Dr Lewis Ball stands under a radio telescope.

    Dr Lewis Ball has been appointed as the incoming Chief for CSIRO's Astronomy and Space Science (CASS) division.  ©M. Alexander, ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

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