Alumna's star continues to rise

University of Adelaide alumna Professor Lisa Kewley

University of Adelaide science alumna Professor Lisa Kewley.

University of Adelaide science alumna Professor Lisa Kewley – who is internationally recognised for her outstanding contribution to our understanding of the universe - continues her stellar academic career with the announcement this week of a prestigious appointment in the United States as Director of the Center for Astrophysics: Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA).

Professor Kewley holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Adelaide and is currently Professor and Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the ANU.

Like many experts before her, that rise came from smaller beginnings: she was encouraged to study astronomy by a high-school science teacher and then completed her undergraduate degree at the University.

Her appointment to the US role is effective from 1 July this year.

In announcing the news, the Harvard Gazette points out the 20 years of experience in astrophysics that she will take into the new position and adds that she is regarded as “a world leader in the theoretical modelling and observation of star-forming and active galaxies”.

In addition to her role at the ANU, Professor Kewley has been serving as director of ASTRO 3D - a $40-million ARC Centre of Excellence looking to expand understanding of the evolution of matter, light and the elements . . . starting from the Big Bang.

She is a former NASA Hubble Fellow, an international member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences. From 2001 to 2004, she was a fellow of the CfA.

Professor Kewley said it was “an honour to become director of the CfA”.

“(It) is a tremendously exciting organisation with expertise across the entire spectrum, from millimetre and radio waves to X-rays,” she told the Gazette. “I plan to bring people together from across these different areas to answer some of astronomy’s biggest questions . . . and at the same time (ensure) a positive and supportive environment for all CfA members.”

Tagged in news brief, Lisa Kewley, Harvard, Smithsonian, alumna, Adelaide University, News in brief