Astrophysicist to descend on Hill
Tuesday, 25th September, 2018
By Myles Burt
Broken Hill will be hosting leading astrophysicist Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith during her When Galaxies Collide tour.
Prof Harvey-Smith has spent the last 15 years researching at universities and research institutes and taken to the stage with science icons such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan and Charlie Duke.
She was also a presenter for the popular ABC television event Stargazing Live.
Prof Harvey-Smith has decided to place Broken Hill on her touring map after being approached by local business Outback Astronomy.
“I’m really pleased to link up with them (Outback Astronomy) and bring these amazing shows to Broken Hill, too,” Prof Harvey-Smith said.
“I’m very excited to come over and see the town’s people and understand what amazing skies you have out there.
“It’s probably one of the best places in Australia to look at the stars.”
This will be Prof Lisa Harvey-Smith’s first time in the Silver City.
Her book When Galaxies Collide looks into the future of our night sky and the drastic changes that will occur when the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies collide.
“They’re hurtling towards each other at 400,000km/h,” Prof Harvey-Smith said.
“In about 3.8 billion years they’ll collide.
“So I really want to give people an understanding of the future of the night sky, the wonder and the majesty of the sky and how it’s going to change.”
Prof Harvey-Smith feels people are often forgetting about the night sky as a natural wonder, and is driven to get regional and metropolitan residents excited about the stars again.
“So many people are losing connection with the night sky,” Prof Harvey-Smith said.
“It not only tells a story of billions of years in our future but in our past and our historical connection to the night sky.
“I think my mission is to get everyone in Broken Hill and the region appreciating the wonderful night skies that you have there.”
Broken Hill will be the only place on her tour to feature two shows. A midday matinee will be held so school students will have a better chance to hear her talks.
“Broken Hill is a real focus for me,” Prof Harvey-Smith said.
“I was really, really keen on young students having the opportunity to see this show.
“Because I think it will inspire the next generation of young people who are interested in science and technology.”
Prof Harvey-Smith hopes through reaching out to school students that she’ll be able to encourage them to take on more enriching opportunities such as STEM programs at their school.
“There is a skill shortage in Australia in the science, technology, engineering and maths subjects,” she said.
“We’ve just launched a Space Agency which is so exciting and so many of those jobs for the future will be in science and tech.
“So getting young kids to understand that this stuff is exciting, it’s real, it’s happening here in Australia and there’ll be great jobs in the future.
“That’s going to be so important for Australia going into the future.”
Willyama High School’s Faculty Leader of Science Sally Jenkins is excited for her students to see Prof Harvey-Smith speak.
“It’s something that we probably don’t get as much exposure to in Broken Hill,” Ms Jenkins said.
“Industry experts, people like Lisa Harvey-Smith, have that in-depth knowledge because she’s centred out of universities and centred out of research institutes.”
Prof Harvey-Smith’s shows are in Broken Hill on November 16.