Lisa J. Kewley

Australian National University

Primary Section: 12, Astronomy
Membership Type:
International Member (elected 2021)


Lisa Kewley is an astronomer recognized for her fundamental advances in understanding of the history of the universe, particularly star and galaxy formation.  Kewley was born in Canberra, Australia and she was inspired to do astronomy by her high school physics teacher.  She completed her undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Adelaide and obtained her PhD in 2002 from the Australian National University on the connection between star-formation and supermassive black holes in galaxies.  She was a Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Fellow in Boston and a NASA Hubble Fellow based at the University of Hawaii.  She is currently Professor and Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the Australian National University. Her awards include the 2006 American Astronomical Society Annie Jump Cannon Award, the 2008 American Astronomical Society Newton Lacy Pierce Prize, and the 2020 US National Academy of Science James Craig Watson Medal.  In 2014, Kewley was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and in 2015, Kewley was awarded an ARC Laureate Fellowship, Australia’s top fellowship to support excellence in research. In 2020, Kewley was awarded the US National Academy of Sciences James Craig Watson Medal. She was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2021.

Research Interests

Kewley is an established world leader in the theoretical modelling and observation of star-forming and active galaxies. Her seminal contributions include understanding the gas physics in star-forming galaxies, understanding galaxies containing actively accreting supermassive black holes, and tracing the star-formation and oxygen history of galaxies over the past 12 billion years. Kewley’s most recent research combines stellar evolution and photoionization models with 3D integral field spectroscopy to understand the physical processes that transform galaxies.  Kewley is currently implementing her scientific vision through her Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in All-Sky Astrophysics in 3D (ASTRO 3D).  ASTRO 3D combines Australia's radio and optical ground-based telescopes with international 8-10m telescopes and world-wide super-computing facilities to understand the formation and evolution of matter, ionizing radiation, and chemical elements in the Universe.

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