Russ Taylor received a B.Sc in Astronomy, from the University of Western Ontario in 1976, and a Ph.D. in Physics (Radio Astronomy) from the University of British Columbia in 1982. He is currently South African Joint Research Chair in Radio Astronomy at the University of Cape Town and University of the Western Cape. Before coming to South Africa in 2014, Professor Taylor was Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Calgary and Director of the three-university Institute for Space Imaging Science. Past positions include: Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy University of Calgary, Visiting Scientist, U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory; Distinguished Visiting Scientist, Australian Commonwealth Industrial Research Organization; Research Associate, University of Manchester, Jodrell Bank Observatory; Research Associate, University of Groningen, Kapteyn Astronomical Laboratory; NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto.
He has served on numerous national and international committees and boards. Among these are several that impact planning and development of astronomy world-wide, including President of the Radio Astronomy Division of the International Astronomical Union. He has played a leading role on Square Kilometre Array Project since its inception, serving as founding Executive Secretary of the International Square Kilometre, Array Steering Committee, founding chair of the International SKA Science Advisory Committee, vice-chair of the International SKA Science and Engineering Committee, and as a member of the International Board of the Preparatory Phase Program for the SKA and of the International Board of the SKA Organization.
On the research side, Taylor has published over 200 professional scientific articles, and has edited four books. During his time as a professor at the University of Calgary he mentored over 40 young scientists in radio astrophysics and the techniques of radio imaging of the sky. One was awarded the Henri Chrétien International Research Award from the American Astronomical Society in 1993 for work carried out under his supervision, and one graduate student was award the Canadian Astronomical Society’s Plaskett Medal for the best Canadian Ph.D. thesis in Astronomy.
Taylor was the Canadian Co-principal Investigator on the VSOP space mission, an international partnership to launch a radio telescope for Very Long Baseline Interferometry imaging between Earth and space. As part of the mission he directed one of three international centres for processing of the VSOP mission data.