The new ABC Radio National science podcast hit the airwaves and I cannot be prouder of this show. Alongside my rantings is the insightful, measured yet ever enthusiastic explanations of my friend and co-star Dr Amanda Bauer. The entire series is run by the ABC's astoundingly talented producer Joel Werner. Subscribe and have a listen wherever you get your podcasts (iTunes).
Speaking to 4000 inspiring primary students from across the State was an incredible honour. I tried to tell them what makes a good leader (listening!), how to succeed in their career (passion!) and what’s the coolest job (astronomer!) I was alongside the YGAP co-founder Elliot Costello, Dr Paul McIntosh from one of my favourite supercomputers MASSIVE and Cat Cafe star Anita Loughran. All people who have succeeded against incredible odds. The event was organised by Halogen and the scale blew me away, it was a long day and yet the questions at the end were still so impressive and insightful. I wish this event had been around when I was young but then again I probably wouldn’t have been good enough to get in then!
Deeply honoured to be featured alongside everyday Australian legends as Commbank’s Australian of the Day campaign. Fun chatting to them about my work on Dark Matter as well as helping inspire and educate Australians about the awesomeness of science.
This is one of the most fun papers I have ever written (and not just because of the title). The picture astronomers have of the early universe is one of galaxies growing rapidly, turning vast quantities of gas rich clouds into stars in a boom-time of star formation. By using the Smaug simulations of this period I and my DRAGONS colleagues were able to explore this picture. We found that cold gas is indeed consumed rapidly, in just 300 million years irrespective of how stars explode or that gas can cool. However, theres so much material pouring into the galaxies at this time that they simply can't consume it all! A system where demand (gas turing into stars) can't raise to meet supply (of new primary material flowing in) is a recession.
Far from a booming bull-market, the early Universe was a recessionary bear-market and that's why I love this paper...
This is a spectacular study by my Yuxiang Qin, one of my PhD students I am fortunate to co-supervise with Dr Simon Mutch and Prof Stuart Wyithe as part of DRAGONS. In this work Yuxiang compares the growth of dark matter structures in the early universe both with and without the impact of gas physics (in particular the fact that giant clouds of atoms have a pressure that prevents them collapsing unlike dark matter). Most simulations ignore that effect to save computational time. Yuxiang showed that's potentially a disastrous step for first structures where the gas prevents the halo from collapsing and through its gravitational pull can also slow the collapse of dark matter itself meaning simulations that take a computational shortcut can produce early haloes that are far larger than they should otherwise be.
I loved making this short ABC ME series with the wonderfully talented and ever enthusiastic Grace Koh trying to explain the answers to questions that we all think of, while restricting ourselves to a green screen and about 3 minutes in total. You can watch all 5 episodes on iView or catch them as interstitials between your favourite shows on ABC ME. Also who doesn't love a big red button?!