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Dr Keith Bannister

Senior Principal Research Scientist


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Keith is an engineer with an astronomy problem. His work straddles both in astronomical instrumentation and science topics. On the engineering side he has spent most of his time commissioning ASKAP and, in particular, the high-time resolution modes for FRB searches. He is actively looking at upgrades for ASKAP which will soon result in testing a prototype of novel ‘transparent’ feed legs. In science, his main work has been in the time-variable radio sky, working with variability due to propagation (scintillation, extreme scattering events), radio transients, including gravitational wave, and fast radio bursts.
- Principal Investigator: The Australia Telescope search for Extreme Scattering Events (ATESE)
- Principal Investigator: Commensal Real-time Fast Transients (CRAFT) ASKAP survey team

Current Roles

  • Principal Research Engineer
    ASKAP Commissioning, Fast Radio Bursts, Radio Wave scattering in the interstellar medium

Academic Qualifications

  • 2002

    Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Honors)
    University of New South Wales

  • 2012

    PhD - Astronomy
    University of Sydney

Professional Experiences

  • 1996-2002

    Contract software engineering

  • 2002-2007

    Communication systems engineer - Aerospace
    EADS Astrium UK

  • 2011-2015

    Bolton Fellow
    CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science

Achievements and Awards

  • 1997-2002

    Co-Op Scholarship
    University of New South Wales

  • 1997-1999

    Co-Op Scholarship Award for Academic Excellence
    University of New South Wales

  • 2001-2001

    Automation control and instrumentation thesis competition (commendation)

  • 2001-2001

    Graduate Electrical Engineering Prize
    Institute of Electrical Engineers

  • 2013-2013

    Charlene Heisler prize – outstanding PhD thesis (commendation)
    Astronomical Society of Australia

  • 2017-2017

    Louise Webster prize - outstanding research by a early career researcher
    Astronomical Society of Australia

  • 2018-2018

    Award for collaboration
    Digital, National Facilities & Collections - CSIRO

  • 2019-2019

    CSIRO Science Excellence Award

  • 2021-2021

    Newcomb Cleveland Award for best paper in Science
    American Association for the Advancement of Science

  • 2021-2021

    Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year
    Prime Minister's Prizes

  • 2021-2021

    Anne Green Prize
    Australian Astronomical Society

  • 2022-2022

    Pawsey Medal
    Australian Academy of Science

Other highlights

  • 2016-2016

    First real-time detection of an Extreme Scattering Event

  • 2017-2017

    Detection of a Fast Radio Burst with ASKAP

  • 2018-2018

    Detection of a record number of Fast Radio Bursts with ASKAP

  • 2019-2019

    First accurate localisation of a once-off Fast Radio Burst with ASKAP

  • 2020-2020

    Direct detection of missing baryons


  • 2018-2021

    ARC Discovery Project: "Weighing the universe with Fast Radio Bursts" (DP180100857)

  • 2022-2025

    ARC Discovery Project: "Illuminating the cosmic web with Fast Radio Bursts"

  • 2021-2024

    ARC Discovery Project: "Solving the mystery of ultra luminous fast radio burst emission "

  • 2021-2022

    ARC LIEF Project: "The next generation fast radio burst detector for Australia"

We have publications by Dr Keith Bannister