Joss Bland-Hawthorn is an ARC Laureate Fellow Professor of Physics and Director of the Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIFA) where he became the first appointed Head of Instrument Science in 2000 when the new division was created to reflect the increasing need for complex novel solutions to astronomical instrumentation.
He has made significant contributions in astronomical research and instrumentation at the forefront of optical astronomy. He is recognized particularly for his work in galactic archaeology and near-field cosmology, which he developed with Kenneth Freeman, and astrophotonics. His astronomical technology has been widely adopted in astronomy and is applicable in other fields. In 2016 Bland-Hawthorn was awarded the New South Wales Premier's Prize for Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Physics.
Bland-Hawthorn's main scientific interests are galactic archaeology and near-field cosmology, galaxy formation and evolution. Examples include the evolution of the elemental abundances and how reionization unfolded using multi-element spectroscopy of the oldest stars in the Galaxy. His extended lab group is also developing new instruments to take survey science into the next decade.