Dr Bernard Lewis Fanaroff

Honours and Qualifications

  • Order of Mapungubwe in Silver. 2013.
  • Fellow of the Royal Society (of London). 2019.
  • Karl G. Jansky Lectureship of the Associated Universities Inc. (National Radio Astronomy Observatory of the USA) 2017.
  • Member of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • Lifetime Achievement award of the National Research Foundation 2018.
  • Academy of Science of South Africa Science-for-Society Gold Medal for 2017 for excellence in the application of outstanding scientific thinking in the service of society.
  • Visiting Professor in Physics, Oxford University. 2009 – 2019.
  • Annual lecture series titled The Fanaroff Lectures inaugurated by University of Manchester 2018.
  • Isaac Newton Studentship, University of Cambridge. 1971 – 1973.
  • Invited Plenary Speaker at the Commonwealth Science Conference 2017 in Singapore.
  • Award for Science Diplomacy from the Minister for Science and Technology. 2015.
  • Ambassador of the Year: Kaapse Sakekamer (Cape Chamber of Business) and Die Burger newspaper. 2012.
  • President’s Award: South African Institute of Electrical Engineers. 2015.
  • Hendrik van der Bijl Memorial Lecture of the South African Academy of Engineering. 2015.
  • National Research Foundation team award. 2014.
  • National Science and Technology Forum Award to the team. 2013.
  • John Orr Lecture of the SA Institute of Mechanical Engineers. 2012.
  • LLD (Honoris causa), Rhodes University. 2008.
  • DPhil (Honoris causa), University of the Western Cape. 2010.
  • DIng (Honoris causa) University of Stellenbosch. 2012.
  • DSc (Honoris causa) University of the Witwatersrand. 2013.
  • DSc (Honoris causa) University of KwaZulu Natal. 2014.
  • DSc (Honoris causa) University of Cape Town. 2014.

Current Appointments

  • Strategic adviser, Square Kilometre Array South Africa.
  • Co-chair, BRICS Committee on High Performance Computing and the ICT industry.
  • Board member, Cornerstone Institute (private non-profit university).
  • Member of the Advisory Committee of the Breakthrough Listen project of the Breakthrough Initiative (USA)
  • Trustee of the Paleontological Scientific Trust (PAST)
  • Chair of the Western Cape selection panel for the Rhodes Scholarships.

Service on Boards

At various times non-executive director of

  • Eskom
  • SA National Bio-Diversity Institute
  • Square Kilometre Array Organisation
  • Cornerstone Institute
  • Metal Industry Pension Fund
  • Metal Industry Provident Fund
  • Metal Box Pension Fund.

Previously Executive Director of Resolve (Pty) Ltd and Managing Director of Resolve Crime and Security Solutions (Pty) Ltd.

Previous Appointments

Government and Public Sector

  • Director, Square Kilometre Array South Africa (a project of the Department of Science and Technology). 2003 – 2015.
  • Non-executive director, Eskom SOC; member of the Audit and Risk and the People and Governance Committees of the Board 2011-2014.
  • Board member representing South Africa, Square Kilometre Array Organisation 2011 – 2015.
  • Adviser to the Minister for Safety and Security 2000 – 2001.
  • Deputy Director General, Department of Safety and Security, Pretoria 1997-2000.
  • Chairman, Integrated Justice System Board 1997-2000.
  • Chairman, Inter-departmental Steering Committee on Border Control 1997- 2000.
  • Deputy Director General, Office of the President (NR Mandela) 1994-1996.
  • Head of the Office for the Reconstruction and Development Programme 1994 -1996.
  • Accounting Officer of the Budget Vote: Promotion of the Reconstruction and Development Programme 1994-1996.
  • Head of the Development Planning Branch (of the government) 1994-1996.


  • Managing Director, Fanaroff Associates 2000 – (now dormant).
  • Managing Director, Resolve Crime and Security Solutions (Pty) Ltd. 2000 – 2004.
  • Director, Resolve (Pty) Ltd. 2000 – 2004.

Trade Unions

  • National Secretary, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa 1987 – 1994.
  • National Organizer and Acting General Secretary (at various times), Metal and Allied Workers Union 1977 – 1987.
  • Member of the Central Committee and Executive Committee of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).  Various times between 1985 and 1994.
  • Member of the Electricity Council (Eskom’s Board before it was corporatized) 1993-1994. Essentially a non-executive director.
  • Member of the committee on the future of the defence industry, reporting to the Transitional Executive Council. 1992-3.
  • Co-chair of the sub-committee on the structure of the electricity distribution industry of the National Electricity Forum. 1992-1993.
  • Co-chair of the sub-committee on Liquid Fuels of the National Economic Forum. 1993-1994.
  • Member of the Standing Committee on Electronics of the Industrial Development Corporation. About 1990 – 1993.


  • Junior lecturer in physics, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 1974-1976.

Professional Affiliations

  • Founding member, Academy of Science of South Africa.
  • Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Civil and Political Activities

  • Led campaigns to obtain seats for unions and civic organisations on the boards of state-owned enterprises. 1990 – 1991.
  • Led the campaign to obtain shares for unions and increased shares for NAFCOC and FABCOS in the companies (Vodacom and MTN) which were being licensed to provide mobile telephone services. About 1991-1992.
  • Led the national campaign against the introduction of VAT. 1991.
  • Led the team which drafted the Firearm Control Act and guided it through Parliament. Act passed in 2000. Resulted in a significant drop in firearm fatalities.


  • Karl G Jansky Lectures for the Associated Universities Inc. and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in the USA (YouTube).
  • Invited plenary speaker at the Commonwealth Science Conference, Singapore 2017. (Royal Society website)
  • Invited keynote speaker at the launch of the African Research Universities Alliance, Ghana (Accra) April 2017.

Presentations, interviews and reports over many years on issues ranging from the SKA project, Big Data, the African Research Cloud, the SKA South Africa Human Capital Programme, to corruption, administrative justice, access to information, industrial relations, industrial policy, the RDP, crime prevention and other topics.

For example: presentation to the Bertelsmann Foundation conference on Freedom of Information. Fanaroff: Informationsfreiheit aus Sudafrikanischer Sicht. In Hart, Welzel and Garstka: Informationshfreiheit – Die Glaserne Burokratie als Burgerrecht? Bertelsmann, 2004, 53-69.


  • Camilo et al.  Ap J 856, 180 (2018). Revival of the Magnetar PSR J1622–4950: Observations with MeerKAT, Parkes, XMM-Newton, Swift, Chandra, and NuSTAR
  • Bernardi et al. (2017). A MeerKAT View on Galaxy Clusters. Accepted for PoS.
  • Foley et al: MNRAS 460, 1664 (2016): Engineering and science highlights of the KAT-7 radio telescope.
  • Fanaroff: Nature 534, 34 (2016). Astronomy: Cosmic detectives.
  • Fanaroff: Nature 502, 439 (2013). Radio astronomy: finger on the pulsar.
  • Armstrong et al: MNRAS 433, 1951 (2013). A return to strong radio flaring by Circinus X-1.
  • Fanaroff and others: Nature 490, 331–334 (2012). Research policy: How to build science capacity
  • Argue et al: MNRAS 186P, 1 (1974). Radio and optical studies of 4C11.50.
  • Fanaroff and Riley: MNRAS 167P, 31 (1974). The morphology of extragalactic radio sources of high and low luminosity.
  • Fanaroff: MNRAS 166P, 1 (1974). A search for flux density variations in the central components of the extended extragalactic radio sources Virgo A and 3C III.
  • Fanaroff and Willson: Astrophysics Letters 15, 115 (1973). Identification of some radio sources which have “flat” spectra.
  • Fanaroff and Longair: MNRAS 161, 393 (1973). Cosmological information from surveys of radio source spectra.
  • Fanaroff and Longair: MNRAS 159, 119 (1972). Cosmological evolution of radio sources of large angular extent.
  • Fanaroff and Blake: MNRAS 157, 41 (1972). Observations of radio sources with flat spectra.
  • Date Of Birth

    11 September 1947

  • Residence

    Cape Town, South Africa

  • Academic Qualifications

    BSc Hons (Theoretical Physics) – University of the Witwatersrand. 1970

    PhD (Radio Astronomy) – University of Cambridge. 1974

Dr Bernard Fanaroff FRS was the director of the Square Kilometer Array South Africa and the MeerKAT radio telescope from its inception in 2003 until 2015. The project also established a large programme to develop young astronomers and engineers in South Africa and the rest of Africa. He is now an advisor to the Director of the SA Radio Astronomy Observatory and is a member of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a member of the Advisory Committee of the Breakthrough Listen initiative, co-chairman of the BRICS working group on high-performance computing and IT, a board member of the Cornerstone Institute and a trustee of the Paleontological Scientific Trust.

He has a PhD from Cambridge University and was originally a radio astronomer and co-author of the Fanaroff-Riley classification of radio galaxies and quasars. He was then successively a metal industry union organizer, Head of the Office for the Reconstruction and Development Programme and Deputy Director General in President Mandela’s Office of the President, Deputy Director General in the Department for Safety and Security and chaired the Integrated Justice System Board and the Inter-departmental committee on border control. He left government in 2000.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (of London) and has been awarded amongst other things the Order of Mapungubwe, the Karl G. Jansky Lectureship, Lifetime Achievement award of the National Research Foundation, Academy of Science of South Africa Science-for-Society Gold Medal, seven honorary doctorates, an award for Science Diplomacy from the Minister for Science and Technology and the President’s Award of the SA Institute of Electrical Engineers. Manchester University has inaugurated the Fanaroff Lecture series.