Press Release

New Head for Australia Telescope National Facility

By SpaceRef Editor
May 9, 2003
Filed under , ,

Professor Brian J. Boyle, Director of the Anglo-Australian Observatory,
has been named as new Director of the CSIRO Australia Telescope National
Facility (ATNF). He will take up his appointment in July.

Professor Boyle succeeds Professor Ronald D. Ekers, Foundation Director
of the ATNF, who has received a Federation Fellowship from the
Australian Government to pursue his research interests, and Professor
Raymond P. Norris, who has been Acting ATNF Director for much of the
last two years.

The ATNF is one of the world’s leading radio observatories. It is the
biggest single astronomical organization in Australia, and accounts for
more than 90% of radio astronomy done in the country. The ATNF is a
division of CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research
Organisation), Australia’s largest national research body.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome Professor Boyle to CSIRO,” said CSIRO
Chief Executive Dr. Geoff Garrett, who announced the appointment.

“I’m sure that under his guidance the ATNF will continue from strength
to strength.”

“The existing ATNF management has been excellent, and has laid a firm
foundation for the future,” said Professor Boyle.

“I look forward to making sure that the ATNF continues to play a central
role in developing the next round of major radio instruments and

Dr. Robert Williams, former director of the Space Telescope Science
Institute, welcomed the appointment.

“In selecting Brian Boyle to head the ATNF the CSIRO has chosen an
outstanding leader to guide what many consider to be the most
technologically innovative radio observatory in the world,” he said.

“Professor Boyle has done a superb job as Director of the
Anglo-Australian Observatory, and his decision to change the direction
of his career from optical to radio astronomy is a tribute to Australian
leadership in that field.”

Professor Boyle has published more than 200 research papers, and is
cited more than 3700 times in the scientific literature. His main
research interests are in cosmology and the properties of active
galactic nuclei.

He completed his PhD at the University of Durham in the UK. After a
fellowship in astronomy in Edinburgh, he took up a position at the
Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO) in 1987.

In 1990 Professor Boyle returned to the UK as a Royal Society Fellow at
Cambridge, before being appointed AAO Director in 1996.

The AAO operates the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope and 1.2-m UK
Schmidt telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in eastern Australia, on
behalf of the astronomical communities of Australia and the UK.

“Brian took over the role of AAO Director at a time when the
organization was facing significant challenges,” said Professor Malcolm
Longair, Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy and head of the
Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University, UK.

“He has completely changed that perspective through his dynamic
leadership, which has been firmly grounded in the need to pursue science
of highest world standard. The aim is easily stated, but implementing it
is a really major scientific and managerial challenge.”

During Professor Boyle’s term as Director the AAO completed major
cosmological surveys, the 2df Galaxy Redshift Survey and the 2dF Quasar
survey, using the 2dF (“two-degree field”) instrument on the
Anglo-Australian Telescope. These surveys, the largest of their kind at
the time, recorded the redshifts of 221,000 galaxies and 23,000 quasars.

The unprecedented size of the surveys allowed them to capture the
Universe’s structure on scales of up to 1000 million light-years, which
had previously been impossible, and led to a flurry of papers in cosmology.

At the same time Professor Boyle has transformed the AAO from an
organization responsible solely for the support of its own telescopes to
one that also develops instrumentation for leading international
facilities such as Japan=92s Subaru telescope and the European Southern
Observatory=92s Very Large Telescope.

More information:

Professor Brian Boyle, Anglo-Australian Observatory


Dr. Robert Williams, Space Telescope Science Institute


Professor Malcolm Longair, University of Cambridge


SpaceRef staff editor.