Distinguished Professor Brian Schmidt is the former Vice-Chancellor and President of The Australian National University.

Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, Professor Schmidt is an astrophysicist at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory and ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He is an expert in astronomy and physics, but actively commentates on the intersection of academic expertise and society, including higher education, research, and science policy.

Professor Schmidt makes a significant contribution to public debate through the media, and via his membership of bodies including the Prime Minister’s National Science and Technology Council.

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) at 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. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, The United States Academy of Science, and the Royal Society, and he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2013.

He served as the 12th Vice-Chancellor and President of ANU.

Fields of expertise



The life of Brian

When a slightly nerdy American-born astronomer threw his hat in the ring to become Vice-Chancellor of Australia’s only…

19 December 2023


Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt calls on Australia to end racism

Nobel laureate and outgoing Vice-Chancellor of The Australian National University (ANU) Professor Brian Schmidt has issued a powerful…

18 December 2023


Democracy Sausage: Media reform and hate speech on campus with Brian Schmidt

How can Australia have a functioning democracy when public trust in media — an institution that exists to…

12 December 2023


AI could destabilise our democracies

Within our democracy, universities are the institutions with the longest-term view of our society. This is in contrast…

7 December 2023


Media must reform to restore public trust: Schmidt

We live in an age where there has never been greater access to information, nor greater doubt about…


A Voice equals justice and recognition

Later this year Australians will vote in a historic referendum on whether we should entrench an Aboriginal and…


Helping our subs swim, not sink: here’s how we can build Australia’s AUKUS-ready workforce

Nuclear-powered submarines are some of the most complex machines human beings have ever developed. By the middle of…


Australia’s future needs us to better fund and use research

Education makes Australian citizens healthier, wealthier and more engaged with society. At the same time, government-funded research in higher education drives economic productivity in…


ANU Nobel Laureate to chair Group of Eight

Professor Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor of The Australian National University (ANU), has been appointed Chair of Australia’s leading research-intensive…

7 December 2022


Australia can’t afford to delay when it comes to nuclear subs

The announcement of the AUKUS partnership in September last year was dominated by the plan for Australia to…

9 November 2022


We must rebuild a uni sector that powers a prosperous future

In his new book, Wizards of Oz, Brett Mason chronicles two Australians who changed the course of world…


Ancient star death unlocks 13-billion-year space mystery

In a world-first, astronomers from The Australian National University (ANU) have discovered evidence of a massive explosion that led to…


Our man on the moon: gone but not forgotten

Apollo 11’s 1969 moon landing was an out of this world event that stopped the planet. With Neil…


ANU zeroes in on negative carbon emissions by 2030

The Australian National University (ANU) is the one of the first universities in Australia and the world to commit to…


We must keep learning and must keep doing

Speech to 2021 UN Climate Adaptation Summit Friday 22 January 2021 It’s a great honour to be asked…

Subscribe to ANU Reporter