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Dr Lewis Ball

Former Director, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science

Lewis Ball in front of the Compact Array, Narrabri.
             Photo: Christoph Brem.
Lewis Ball in front of the Compact Array, Narrabri.
Photo: Christoph Brem.

Dr Ball took up the role of Director (then Chief) of CASS in March 2013 and held the position until March 2016.

As CASS Director he led approximately 280 people and was responsible for:

  • operating and developing CSIRO's Australia Telescope National Facility
  • managing (on NASA's behalf) the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, and
  • driving CSIRO's contribution to the first phase of the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope in Australia.


Before returning to CSIRO as CASS Chief, Dr Ball was Deputy Director of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) from September 2010. As the Deputy Director of ALMA, he had joint responsibility (with the ALMA Director) for all construction and operations activities for this USD 1.6 billion project, and he led the successful commencement of ALMA's scientific operation.

Before joining ALMA, Dr Ball led CSIRO's astronomy division, first as Acting Director of the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) and then as Acting Chief of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science from 2009 to 2010. Prior to this he was Deputy Director of the ATNF from 2005.

He joined CSIRO in 2001 as Deputy Officer-in-Charge at CSIRO's Parkes Observatory. He was also responsible for strategic human resources management for the division as a whole from 2002 to 2005.

Prior to that, Dr Ball held positions at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF), Sweden, and the University of Sydney.

Academic qualifications

Dr Ball completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Theoretical Physics at the University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, in 1988. In 2007 he completed the AICD Company Directors course.


Throughout his career Dr Ball has pursued research emphasising the link between theory and observation, first in magnetospheric physics and later in space physics and astrophysics.

His research background is in the theory of shocks, particle acceleration, synchrotron emission and inverse Compton scattering and their application to supernovae, supernova remnants, pulsar winds and radio/X-ray transients.

Dr Ball pioneered the theory of gamma-ray emission from the winds of binary radio pulsars. His model for the binary pulsar B1259-63 led to the theoretical prediction that this system should be a detectable source of extremely energetic (TeV) gamma rays.

Dr Ball is also a recognised international expert on radio supernovae and their evolution. He is best known for his comprehensive record of the evolving radio emission from Supernova 1987A -observations made every few weeks for more than a decade - and the theoretical insights that have flowed from that.

Dr Ball has been a member of the Space Industry Innovation Council (2010), the joint Boeing-CSIRO Steering Committee (2009-2010), and the Antarctic Astronomy Advisory Committee (2009-2010). He has published 39 peer-reviewed publications.

Contact Details

Dr Lewis Ball
CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science
PO Box 76
Epping NSW 1710
Phone: +61-2-9372-4300
Fax: +61-2-9372-4500