Speakers Profile - Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith

Astrophysicist and ultra-marathon runner

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Dr. Lisa Harvey-Smith is an award-winning astrophysicist, communicator and occasional ultra-marathon runner. Her research uses some of the largest telescopes in the world to study the birth and death of stars, cosmic magnetic fields and interactions between colliding galaxies. Lisa is the Project Scientist for CSIRO's Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), a precursor to the world's largest radio telescope.

Harvey-Smith is also a speaker, MC and performer with a passion for communicating science and its real-world outcomes to non-specialists. She recently introduced the live shows Buzz Aldrin: Mission to Mars and An Evening with Neil De Grasse Tyson at major venues in Sydney and Melbourne. In February 2015 she presented her own show "Stargayzing" for Sydney Mardi Gras. In May 2016 she is hosting a national tour with Gene Cernan: Last Man on the Moon in theatres across Australia.

Harvey-Smith was a co-recipient of the CSIRO Chairman’s Medal and a finalist in the Australian Museum’s Eureka Prize for the Promotion of Australian Science Research in 2015. She was named in The Sydney Morning Herald’s Top 100: Most influential people in 2012.

Lisa has appeared on radio and television platforms including ABC and commercial radio, Sky News Business, ABC Splash, Al Jazeera English, SBS News and ABC News 24. She has written articles for The Conversation and appeared in many national newspapers and magazines. Her article on the SKA features in the popular science book Patrick Moore’s Yearbook of Astronomy 2016.

She is involved in many educational initiatives and outreach programs and regularly mentors students in schools located in Sydney and at Pia Wadjarri, a remote aboriginal community in Western Australia.

Harvey-Smith is an advocate for a level playing-field for everyone working in astronomy. Her work as a former Chair of the Astronomical Society of Australia’s Chapter for Women in Astronomy culminated in the launch of The Pleiades Awards, a national accreditation scheme for employers of astronomers in Australia that take steps towards achieving best practice in equity and diversity.

As a keen recreational athlete Lisa enjoy the adventure and challenge of ultra-marathon and multi-day races. Her proudest achievements include running 250 km in the Simpson Desert and completing four marathons in a single day. She is a member of the Australian Ultra-Running Association.