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In February I performed at the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival. The show, called ‘Stargayzing’ combined astronomy, drag and fine food from chef Claire de Lune. A fantastic time was had by all!

Dr. Lisa Harvey-Smith



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About Lisa

I am an astronomer at CSIRO’s Astronomy and Space Science division in Sydney and the Project Scientist for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope. My research spans several areas of Galactic astrophysics including the birth and death of stars and astrophysical masers.

As the ASKAP Project Scientist I am an active member of the ASKAP commissioning team and this year I have carried out the first observations of astronomical masers with the telescope. I also provide scientific oversight to the design process to ensure that the telescope meets the required specifications. As the primary interface between ASKAP and the astronomy user community I lead the development of the ASKAP early science program. I also take part in international science activities for the SKA including a science advisory role to the Australian Government.

As former Chair of the Astronomical Society of Australia’s Chapter for Women in Astronomy, I spent the past two years advocating for best practice towards a level playing-field for everyone working in astronomy. My work with this chapter has 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.

I am passionate about communicating science to non-specialists. My recent outreach activities include Stargayzing at Sydney Mardi Gras festival, a 3D movie for the CSIRO Discovery Centre. I have written for The Conversation and featuring in articles in Women’s Health, The Age, The Weekend Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun Herald and The Sunday Telegraph.

I have appeared on radio and television including ABC Splash for World Space Week, Al Jazeera English, SBS News, ABC News 24, ABC 702 Radio in Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle, Hobart and Mid-West, Breakfast with Adam Spencer and The Science Show with Robyn Williams. In December 2012 I was named in the(sydney)magazine’s list of Sydney’s 100 most influential people.

I take part in regular educational outreach work through the Scientists in Schools and other mentoring schemes. My partner schools are located in metropolitan Sydney and a remote aboriginal community in Western Australia.

As a keen recreational athlete I enjoy the adventure and challenge of ultra-marathon and multi-day races.

Image: Philip Gostelow

Claire de Lune and Lisa Harvey-Smith, performers of ‘Stargayzing’ at Sydney Observatory, part of the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival (Credit: Mark Dickson)