Professional astrophysicist and passionate science communicator. I investigate how galaxies form as well as studying the larger properties of the Universe, and try to explain it to as wide an audience as possible.
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.
I was delighted when three RMIT students asked me to help explain the Aurora (the Northern / Southern lights) with them in this fantastic animation. There's something really engaging about this old school style that more recent digital graphics can miss. But decide for yourself..!
This is quite frankly an astounding feat of engineering but NASA's MMS mission has flown through a magnetic reconnection event - this is where titanic eruptions from the Sun slam into Earth's protective magnetic field and it snaps, releasing energy which we see as an aurora (at best, at worst it destroys our electricity grids!)
One of the most challenging computational puzzles and these observations will be key to understanding this physics. It's also the same physics that limits us in perfecting nuclear fusion power on Earth so something we can all hope is solved and soon!
Some huge stories this week (which I covered in theconversation as well as ABC Breakfast News) on ESA's Swarm satellites measuring the pulsing of the Earth's magnetic field, it's so called magnetic heartbeat. This then lead on to the topic of the magnetic poles swapping places (always a startling fact!) and then the measurements from Australian rocks that a younger Earth had a thinner atmosphere than today when we always had assumed it must have been thicker... These stories were so huge that the fact we found 1284 planets around other stars by NASA's Kepler satellite was left to the end!
My piece in ABC The Drum on what the 2016 budget means for science in Australia. Essentially things continue as we had hoped from earlier in the year with welcome long-term sustained funding. There was a welcome one-year extension to the Australian Astronomical Observatory delaying the end of that world-leading telescope facility by a year to 2019/20 which it is hoped will give time for a sustained and long term solution to astronomical funding in the nation.