In the International Year of Astronomy, Professor Lister Staveley-Smith, an astronomer from The University of Western Australia, was last week named President of the Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA).
The ASA was formed in 1966 as the organisation of professional astronomers in Australia and currently boasts 500 members.
Professor Staveley-Smith is also Deputy Director of a $20 million international radio astronomy research centre based at The University of Western Australia - a joint venture with Curtin University of Technology - to be launched next month. The centre is the focus of Australia's bid to host a new radio telescope capable of seeing the early stages of the formation of galaxies, stars and planets.
He joined UWA's School of Physics as a Premier's Fellow in Radio Astronomy in 2006 with the intention of helping build radio astronomy in WA, ensuring maximum participation in the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and the associated world-class precursor telescopes.
Professor Staveley-Smith was born in Edinburgh, and educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester. He received his PhD on the non-Hubble velocities of spiral galaxies from the University of Manchester in 1985. Two years later he moved to Sydney to take up the award of a Bicentennial Fellowship at the Anglo-Australian Observatory.
From 1989 to 2006, Professor Staveley-Smith has worked at the Australia Telescope National Facility (CSIRO) in Sydney. He was responsible for the first radio imaging of the remnant of SN1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), the nearest and brightest supernova for 400 years.
He also led teams which investigated the large-scale structure of hydrogen in the LMC and its companion, the Small Magellanic Cloud, in unprecedented detail using the newly developed Australia Telescope Compact Array. As project scientist for the 20cm Parkes multibeam receiver, which successfully performed the HI All-Sky Survey (HIPASS) from 1997 to 2002, Professor Staveley-Smith was awarded the CSIRO medal in 1998. He was Director of the Gemini and SKA Major National Research Facility from 2004.
Professor Lister Staveley-Smith (+61 8) 6488 4550 / (+61 4) 25 212 592
(President of the Astronomical Society of Australia, UWA School of Physics)
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716