SAO Instructors

Semester 2, 2015

SAO has a variety of instructors from both the Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing and from various institutions and observatories around the world. Not all instructors teach each semester.

To read about some of our instructors and their "astronomical inspiration" click here

Note: This is a preliminary allocation and may change prior to semester start.
  • AST80005 Exploring the Solar System: Kurt Liffman

    Dr Kurt Liffman has a B.Sc.(Hons) in Mathematics from the University of Melbourne and PhD in astrophysics from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University (Houston, TX). Kurt has worked on problems related to the formation of the Solar System at NASA's Johnson Space Center (Houston, TX) and AMES Research Center (Mountain View, CA). Kurt also worked at the CSIRO, where he was affiliated with the astrophysics group at the Australia Telescope National Facility . He currently works at Swinburne as a research scientist and sessional lecturer at SAO. Kurt is also a visiting scientist at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.

    Around two decades ago, Kurt and Michael J. I Brown published a theory suggesting that the some major components found in meteorites (and, possibly, the planets) were formed or reprocessed close to the early Sun and distributed through-out the early Solar System by bipolar jet flows or accretional flows that were produced close to the early Sun in the first few million years of the Solar System. This theory has obtained some preliminary observational confirmation with observations from the Spitzer Space Telescope that show exactly this process occurring in the protostellar systems Ex Lup and HOPS 68. Kurt is currently working with Prof. Sarah Maddison (Swinburne) and the Swinburne planetary science/astrophysics group on projects to better understand how Stellar Systems are formed.

  • AST80004 Exploring Stars and the Milky Way: Giovanna Pugliese

    Dr Giovanna Pugliese received her Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Bonn, working on high energy neutrinos and theoretical modelling of GRBs at the Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy. She received her Master in Physics from La Sapienza University in Rome, working on high energy cosmic rays and neutrinos, and her Master in Astronomy from the University of Bologna, working on astroparticle physics. Her fields of research range from the modelling and photometric study of GRBs and their link to UHE cosmic rays and neutrinos, to Adaptive Optics photometry of Galactic globular clusters, to the spectroscopic study of extragalactic GCs and stellar populations. After working as a postdoc at several universities both in California and in Europe (UCSC, ESO, and Utrecht university), she is now a researcher at the Department of Astrophysics of the Radboud University in Nijmegen (The Netherlands). During the last 10 years, she has also been involved in astronomy outreach and activities to bring her knowledge into schools.

  • AST80008 (formerly HET607) History of Astronomy: Katrina Sealey
  • Dr Katrina Sealey studied astrophysics at UNSW receiving her PhD in 1997. Katrina's major focus was in observational cosmology and she has spent considerable time observing on optical telescopes all over the world including Australia, Chile and La Palma, undertaking her southern sky quasar survey. During these years Katrina gained specialist astronomical IT skills resulting in her recent appointment as the Australian Astronomical Observatory's IT Manager. Katrina shares her time between the AAO offices in North Ryde and the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran.Over the last 20 years Katrina has also worked as an astronomy educator at Sydney Observatory and has taught many general and undergraduate astronomy courses, and for the past 10 years, Katrina has taught the SAO Short Course. Katrina has a keen personal interest in the History of Astronomy and is about to begin her own research into some historically significant astronomical sights in Australia and around the world. Katrina is eagerly looking forward to teaching this unit.

  • AST80011 (formerly HET617) Major Project: Computational Astrophysics : Jarrod Hurley
  • A/Prof Jarrod Hurley has a B.Sc.(Hons) in Applied Mathematics from Monash University and obtained a Ph.D. from the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge in 2000. He has worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and is now a lecturer at the Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology.

    Jarrod works mostly in the area of computational astrophysics, focussing on the evolution of stars, binaries and star clusters. Specifically he is interested in the link between these areas and performs N-body simulations on special-purpose GRAPE computers, GPUs and supercomputers. These simulations show how star clusters evolve and look at the exotic stars and binaries that can be produced along the way. Jarrod has also looked at the consequences for planetary evolution in the dense environment of a star cluster. He is also involved in Hubble Space Telescope and Gemini observing programs.

  • AST80013 (formerly HET615) Major Project - Observational Astronomy: Mel Hulbert
  • Melissa Hulbert completed a BSc. (Hons) in Physics at the University of Western Sydney, during which she worked as a night guide/lecturer at Sydney Observatory (part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences) where she now works full-time as an Astronomy Programs Coordinator. In between, she contributed a column to Lab News Magazine and then later spent some time as Assistant Editor on both Lab News and Today's Life Sciences Magazines. She is a member of the Australia Science Communicators and in 2000 she was part of the 'Science in the Pub' team that won an Australian Eureka Award for Science Promotion. Melissa also teaches astronomy courses at WEA and the St George and Sutherland Community College. She has been an active member of Sutherland Astronomical Society for over 15 years with her main interest in astro-imaging. She initiated the formation of the Astro-Imaging group which she coordinated for ten years before stepping down at the end of 2014. Melissa's main interests have always been comets and eclipses, but if it's up there and not beyond the range of the equipment she's using then she's happy to snap its portrait. Melissa has been learning to read and translate Egyptian hieroglyphs and has been able to combine this with her interest in archeoastronomy. When time allows, Melissa likes nothing better than spending time imaging the wonders of a clear, dark night sky with a few friends.

  • AST80017 (formerly HET610) Studies in Space Exploration: Andrew McGrath
  • Dr Andrew McGrath is a senior research fellow in Airborne Research Australia, a research institute forming part of the School of the Environment at Flinders University in South Australia. He has worked in defence contracting (passive microwave sensing), the UK Met Office (remote sensing group, working with air- and spaceborne microwave sensing instruments and working in such exotic locations as Ascension Island and the North Pole), and the Anglo-Australian Observatory (developing optical/NIR instrumentation for large astronomical telescopes around the world). Andrew has Batchelors degrees in Applied Mathematics and Electrical/Electronic Engineering from the University of Adelaide, and a PhD in remote sensing instrumentation from the Flinders University of South Australia (1998).

    In his current role since 2009, he works with all phases of remote sensing data collection and processing, including operating the instrumentation and piloting Flinders' research aircraft on scientific missions across Australia. He spends much of his time processing and calibrating hyperspectral and lidar data collected from these aircraft.

  • AST80018 (formerly HET606) Tools of Modern Astronomy : Alister Graham and Karl Glazebrook

    Prof Alister Graham is a Professor within the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at the Swinburne University of Technology. He obtained his Ph.D. from The Australian National University's Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories in 1998. Since then he has worked for three years at the University of Florida's Department of Astronomy in the USA, and for another three years at the Spanish Institute for Astrophysics in the Canary Islands as a telescope Support Astronomer. He has published over 100 refereed papers about the structure and dynamics of galaxies, their dark matter halos and central supermassive black holes.

    Prof Karl Glazebrook is a Professor and Director of the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology. He received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1992 and has worked at Durham University, Cambridge University, the Anglo-Australian Observatory and the Johns Hopkins University. He does research on observational cosmology (size, shape, history and composition of the Universe), galaxy formation, assembly and evolution over cosmic time and astronomical instrumentation concepts. He is noted for carrying out one of the world's first large area near-infrared surveys, for developing the award-winning "nod & shuffle" observing technique in multi-object spectroscopy, for some of the deepest spectroscopy of the high-redshift Universe ever attempted and for developing the 'cosmic sound' technique for understanding dark energy. He has been honoured by being listed as a Highly Cited researcher by ISI, Packard Fellowship and the naming of an Asteroid (#10099). His astronomical software has assisted NASA's Spacewatch survey in discovering 523 near-earth asteroids including 58 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids.

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