Ronald Ekers has had an international career involving research in radio astronomy and radio astronomical techniques. He is now a CSIRO Fellow and an adjunct Professor at Curtin University in Perth. He was born in a country town in South Australia, obtained his BSc in physics at the University of Adelaide and a PhD in astronomy from the Australian National University. After a research career in the UK, the Netherlands and the USA he returned to Australia in 1988 to become the first director of CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF), which operates CSIRO’s four radio observatories. In the USA he was the first director, post-construction, of the world’s largest radio telescope, the Very Large Array. He has been heavily involved in all aspects of the International proposal to build a Square Kilometer Array (SKA) since its inception. From 2003 to 2006 Ekers was the president of the International Astronomical Union, the world body representing professional astronomers. He has received Australia’s Centenary Medal, the Flinders Medal from the Australian Academy of Science and in 2014, he received the Grote Reber Medal for innovative contributions to radio astronomy. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Australian Academy of Science, the Royal Dutch Academy of Science and the US National Academy of Science. He is also a Foreign Member of the American Philosophical Society.

Research Interests

Ron Ekers has broad research interests in astronomy; including extragalactic astronomy and cosmology, galactic nuclei (the centres of galaxies), ultra high energy particle physics and the recently discovered fast radio bursts. He has specialised in the innovative applications of radio astronomical techniques to a range of astrophysical problems. These have included the first measurements of the gravitational deflection of radio waves, the measurement of the velocity of the solar wind, the discovery of the hot gas spiralling around the nucleus of our galaxy, studies of gamma-ray bursts and merging black holes, and hunting for ultra high-energy neutrinos. His observations have also shed light on numerous valuable astronomical phenomena, including the interaction of neutrinos with celestial bodies and the dynamics of the solar wind. On the technical side he invented a technique to "mosaic" radio images to cover a wider field of view and he has been a long term advocate for the development of phased array feeds in radio astronomy. He is currently researching the development of the science of radio astronomy with particular emphasis on radio astronomical imaging.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 12: Astronomy

Secondary Section

Section 13: Physics