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Vice-Chancellor and President
The Australian National University
2011 Nobel Laureate Physics

Professor Brian P. Schmidt was appointed Vice-Chancellor and President of The Australian National University (ANU) in January 2016.

Professor Schmidt is the 12th Vice-Chancellor of The Australian National University (ANU). Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, Professor Schmidt was an astrophysicist at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics before becoming Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Schmidt received undergraduate degrees in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Arizona in 1989, and completed his Astronomy Master's degree (1992) and PhD (1993) from Harvard University. Under his leadership, in 1998, the High-Z Supernova Search team made the startling discovery that the expansion rate of the Universe is accelerating. Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, The United States Academy of Science, and the Royal Society, he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2013.

Assistant Deputy Associate Administrator and Deputy Program Manager for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN)

Mr. Philip Liebrecht is the Assistant Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) and the Deputy Program Manager for the SCaN Program since July 2009. The SCaN Office and Program is within the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC and manages the provision of communications and navigation capabilities for all of NASA’s flight missions. SCaN capabilities enable a diverse set of space missions which extend across the Solar System from the International Space Station (ISS) in low Earth orbit, to Voyager 1 in interstellar space.

The organization provides enabling services to national, commercial and international scientific and aerospace customers in addition to NASA flight missions, and works in partnership with Industry, other Government agencies and International partners to achieve its mission. SCaN develops necessary technologies, standards and systems to enable future missions while improving efficiency and performance. As the Deputy Program Manager for SCaN, Mr. Liebrecht leads the strategic space communications architecture planning for NASA and serves as head of NASA delegations to several international organizations chartered to establish internationally interoperable operations architectures and standards for the future.

Prior to joining NASA Headquarters, Mr. Liebrecht served for over thirty years in various positions of leadership at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt Maryland. He has been a leader in the space communications and tracking for NASA, the US Government and Global International space communities for four decades. Mr. Liebrecht earned Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.

PBS Space Time

Matt O'Dowd is the writer and host of the PBS Digital Studios show Space Time, as well as an Assistant Professor at CUNY Lehman College and Associate Research Scientist at the American Museum of Natural History. Prior to his current roles, Matt held a post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia University, and completed his Ph.D. jointly at the University of Melbourne and NASA's Space Telescope Science Institute.

Matt's research interests include quasar and black hole physics, gravitational lensing, and galaxy evolution. Much of his work is driven by observations using NASA's space-based observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and GALEX. Matt is also active in public outreach. His weekly show, PBS Space Time, has become one of PBS digital studio's largest and fastest growing shows, with nearly a million subscribers and over 60 million views. 


 The American Australian Association strengthens and encourages ties 
between the United States and Australia through corporate, educational, economic, 
social and cultural activities and people to people exchange.
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