Why Study at Swinburne?

Top researchers, excellence in teaching

SAO is a program run by the Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing (CAS) and the Department of Physics & Astronomy (DPA) at Swinburne University of Technology (SUT). CAS and DPA are a fast growing astronomy and astrophysics teaching and research group. Staff are active research astronomers who teach into SAO. CAS and DPA combined have 15 research faculty, that include 2 HiCi (high citation researcher, an honour awarded to researchers whose citations rank them in the top 0.5 per cent of researchers in their field globally) staff, 1 ARC College of Experts member, 1 Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) awardee, 2 Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellows, and 2 ARC QEII awardees.

In 2012 SAO was recognised for teaching excellence and making an outstanding contribution to student learning with a prestigious Citation Award from the Commonwealth Government. The Australian Awards for University Teaching are designed to recognise quality teaching practice and outstanding contributions to student learning. For more read SUT Media release.

In 2012 SAO was also recognised by being awarded SUT Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award (Higher Education) in recognition of the Team’s highly successful astronomy online program, which uses multi-pronged practices to influence, motivate and inspire students through the:

  • creation of opportunities for people throughout the world to engage in postgraduate level study in astronomy;
  • design, development and utilisation of outstanding delivery strategies and materials for online education in astronomy;
  • provision of ongoing support for a highly-engaged international network of astronomy students and alumni, thus fostering a sense of global community.

The Swinburne Astronomy Online Team: (left to right) Dr Glen Mackie, Associate Professor Sarah Maddison-team leader, Dr Chris Fluke, Professor Linda Kristjanson (Vice-Chancellor), Ms Anne Davis, Professor Matthew Bailes, Dr Virginia Kilborn, Mr Artem Bourov, Mr Andrew Jameson.

For details click here.

In 2012 SUT was promoted into the top 400 of the World University Rankings. Swinburne has also maintained its enviable ranking in the top 100 universities for Physics - making Swinburne the only Australian university outside the Group of Eight to achieve a top 100 rating in a science discipline. SUT Media release.

SUT continued to be recognized nationally as a leader teaching quality in the Victorian tertiary sector. The Good Universities Guide 2013 reflects SUTs strengths in science and research - for more click here.

Wide-ranging expertise

With expertise in optical, infrared and radio astronomy, computational and theoretical astrophysics, we observe and even simulate the most exciting astrophysical phenomena. Our research strengths cover all major areas of astronomy, from cosmology and the large-scale structure of the Universe, to quasars and the most distant known galaxies, to clusters and groups of galaxies, down to our own Milky Way, its structure and fascinating contents: stars, planets, pulsars, neutron stars and globular clusters. Our astronomers use the Keck twin 10-metre telescopes! The Keck Observatory in Hawaii comprises the world's largest optical telescopes and SUT astronomers are now observing there for up to 20 nights per year. SUT is also home to 'The Green Machine' and the GPU-based 'gSTAR', two of Australia's most powerful supercomputers. These are excellent research tools in key areas of astronomy ranging from simulations of large-scale structure formation to the processing of enormous data volumes collected from radio telescopes. CAS and DPA is the only astronomy group in the southern hemisphere with its own supercomputer.

Our graduates

Whilst many SAO students do SAO because they simply want to study astronomy, many of our graduates end up in a wide variety of astronomy, science or teaching careers.

Some of our graduates let us know what they are up to click here to see what some of our graduates are doing

CAS news, Multimedia resources

For the latest CAS news click here

To explore our multimedia site for lectures, interviews, and movie previews click here