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Ray Norris is an astrophysicist and science communicator at the CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility, and is well known for his work on Aboriginal Astronomy.

Bill Yidumduma Harney and Ray Norris at the First Astronomers show at the Darwin Festival[1].


Early life

Ray Norris was born in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire, England in 1953. He attended high school at St. Albans School and then went to Cambridge University, where he received an Honours degree in Theoretical Physics.

He then went to the Jodrell Bank Observatory of the University of Manchester where he received his PhD in radio-astronomy in 1978, working on astrophysical masers. At the same time, he started to develop an interest in the archaeoastronomy of Stonehenge and other megalithic observatories, and joined a group of students led by Clive Ruggles, and spent several years surveying the stone circles of the British Isles.


He moved to Australia in 1983 to work for the CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility. He was appointed as Head of Astrophysics in 1994, and Deputy Director in 2000. In 2001 he led the successful bid for Australian astronomy under the Australian Federal Government’s “Major National Research Facilities” program, and then became Director of the Australian Astronomy MNRF. In 2005 he resigned from management positions to return to research.

Aboriginal Astronomy

Norris is well known for his work on Aboriginal Astronomy [2], and is an Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University His work has featured in many radio and TV programs, including ABC TV's "Message Stick" [3] and ABC Radio National's "The First Astronomers" [4] In August 2009 he featured in a two-man The First Astronomers show with Wardaman elder Bill Yidumduma Harney at the Darwin Festival[5].


Norris leads the ATLAS [6] project to image the faintest radio galaxies and star-forming galaxies in the Universe, to understand how they form and evolve. He also leads the EMU [7]project., which is a project on the new ASKAP telescope to survey of the sky at radio wavelengths.



  1. ^ The First Astronomers, 2009, Darwin Festival
  2. ^ Norris, R.P. & Hamacher, D.W., 2009,"The Role of Astronomy in Society and Culture"
  3. ^ ABC TV Message Stick
  4. ^ ABC Radio National "The First Astronomers"
  5. ^ The First Astronomers, 2009, Darwin Festival
  6. ^ The ATLAS project homepage
  7. ^ The EMU project homepage


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