New ANU astronomy director highlights the broad nature of Australia’s excellence in astronomy

18 May 2012

An Australian astronomer who has been at the forefront of his field for more than 30 years has been appointed as the new director of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University.

Professor Matthew Colless, the director of the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) for the past nine years, takes over the prestigious role at an exciting time for world astronomy.

The AAO is a division of the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

“I would like to congratulate Professor Colless and wish him well in his new role. This appointment highlights both the high standing of the AAO and the quality of its personnel,” Department Secretary Dr Don Russell said.

“Under the stewardship of Professor Colless, the AAO has gone from strength to strength. The division’s telescope near Coonabarabran is producing an array of notable and exciting discoveries and publications about our universe.”

“AAO has continued to build an international reputation as a leader in the development and manufacture of telescope instrumentation.”

Since 2007 Professor Colless has been ranked in the top 250 most-cited researchers in space sciences in the previous 25 years. He received the Royal Astronomical Society Group Achievement Award in 2007 and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2009 for his work on galaxy structure and evolution.

Professor Colless will join the ANU in 2013 succeeding Professor Harvey Butcher who is completing a five-year contract.

The department will conduct a domestic and international search for a replacement for Professor Colless, who will remain with the AAO until the end of 2012.

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