Meet the Speakers

Matthew Bailes is one of the world's leading pulsar astronomers and the founding Director of the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing. He has held positions at NASA; the Universities of Manchester and Melbourne; and the CSIRO. Bailes' team is currently working on designing the pulsar processor for the Square Kilometre Array telescope; re-engineering the 18,000 square metre Molonglo telescope; and searches for Fast Radio Bursts. In 2015, he was listed as a collaborator on the Breakthrough Listen Project that will search for evidence of alien life in the universe. Pamela Conrad is an astrobiologist and planetary scientist working at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. She is deputy principal investigator for the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite on NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover. She is also co-investigator to two different payload investigations on NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. Her current research focus is on understanding planetary habitability and on the development of approaches for its measurement in environments on Earth and on other planets, especially Mars. Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist, and best-selling author. He is regents’ professor at Arizona State University, where he is director of Beyond: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science; co-director of the Cosmology Initiative; and principal investigator of the Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology. His research focuses on the ‘big questions’, from the origin of the universe to the origin of life. Lisa Harvey-Smith is an accomplished science writer, speaker, and astronomer at the CSIRO, where she studies the birth and death of stars in our Galaxy. She is the Project Scientist for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), a telescope comprising 36 large radio dishes that is currently under construction in the Western Australian (WA) outback. Her team is currently preparing the observatory to carry out the ASKAP early science project, which will study the evolution of galaxies through approximately seven billion years of cosmic history. She regularly speaks in schools, and is involved in a mentoring program for young indigenous people in WA. Charles Lineweaver is an astrophysicist and associate professor at the Australian National University’s Planetary Science Institute (PSI). His research areas include cosmology, exoplanetology, astrobiology, and cancer. His research has been published in an array of well-regarded scientific publications. Lineweaver was a member of the COBE satellite team that discovered the temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background.