Harley Wood Lecture

In conjunction with the Annual Scientific Meeting, the ASA sponsors a public lecture in the city where the Scientific Meeting is held.

The Harley Wood Lecture was inaugurated in 1984 as an annual lecture in honour of the first President of the Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA).

Harley Wood was Director of Sydney Observatory for over thirty years from 1943 to 1974, during which time the Observatory was engaged in the Astrographic Catalogue, a mammoth international project to photograph the whole sky. His work in the wider context of the Australian and international astronomical community was prolific. He was also heavily involved in the popularisation of astronomy and making astronomy available to everyone. In particular, he was at the forefront of moves to draw Australian astronomers together into a professional organisation and in recognition of this work became the Foundation president of the ASA.

A book is available on Harley Wood and his family’s life at the Observatory, written by Roslyn Russell. Copies can be obtained from the Sydney Observatory bookshop at $30 (recommended retail price).

Image: Harley Wood photographing the spectrum of a comet.

List of Harley Wood Lectures


2019 Kirsten Banks 65,000 years – the rich history of Aboriginal Astronomy
2018 Lisa Kewley Oxygen: Breathing in Stars
2017 Tara Murphy Extreme Events – Exploring the Transient Universe
2016 Luke Barnes Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos (podcast)
2015 Tanya Hill The Light Fantastic
2014 Fred Watson Relatively Brilliant
2013 Charley Lineweaver The Birth, Life and Death of our Planet…… and of the Universe
2012 Chris Tinney A wealth of new planets
2011 Fred Watson How Green is the Universe?
2010 Elaine Sadler Adventures in wide-field astronomy
2009 Ray Norris Australian Indigenous Astronomy
2008 John Dickey What can VLBI do for you? Radio Astronomy in the Public Interest
2007 Matthew Bailes Millisecond Pulsars and Einstein’s Universe
2006 Mike Dopita Star Formation through Cosmic Time
2005 Bryan Gaensler The Brightest Explosion in History: Amazing Magnetars and the Giant Flare of 27th December
2004 Matthew Colless Surveying the Universe
2003 Paul Davies The State of the Universe
2002 Penny Sackett One Hundred New Worlds: The Search for Other Solar Systems
2001 Brian Schmidt Measuring the Universe
2000 Martin George Silhouettes and shadows:Eclipses – fascinating and informative
1999 Rev. Robert Evans Exploding Stars, an Australian Discovery Story
1998 Brian Boyle Mapping the Universe
1997 David Jauncey The Vision Splendid: Radio Astronomy in Space
1996 Russell Cannon How Old are the Stars?
1995 Malcolm Longair Black Holes made Easy
1994 Jeremy Mould High Resolution Imaging with the HST
1993 Patrick Moore Exploring the Planets
1992 Barry Jones Science Intellectuals can Transform Australia
1991 Colin Norman The Hubble Space Telescope
1990 Sidney van den Bergh Asteroids and Dinosaurs
1989 David Malin Astronomical Reflections – Light from between the Stars
1988 Ron Ekers Revealing the Invisible Universe
1987 Paul Wild The Beginnings of Radio Astronomy in Australia