Semester 1/Study Period 1, 2016
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.
- AST80004 Exploring Stars and the Milky Way: Chris Fluke Chris Fluke is an Associate Professor at the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, where he has worked for over a decade. His main research interests are in astronomy visualisation and advanced computation for astronomy, with an emphasis on new ways for astronomers to understand complex, multi-dimensional datasets. He is a member of the Commonwealth Cosmology Initiative (CCI) - a major project funded by the Australian Research Council that aims to enhance Australia's expertise in computational cosmology. As part of the CCI, Chris is working on new techniques for studying gravitational lensing. Chris is a keen science communicator and astronomy educator, and he holds the position of Public Outreach Coordinator for the Centre.
- AST80005 Exploring the Solar System: Glen Mackie
Dr Glen Mackie received a PhD (The Stellar Content of Central Dominant Galaxies) from the Australian National University in 1990, and has worked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Carter Observatory (Wellington, NZ) and Victoria University of Wellington. His research interests include Brightest Cluster Galaxies as tracers of large-scale structure and as probes of galaxy formation and evolution in the rich cluster environment. He has also bravely ventured into stellar research. His other research interests are multiwavelength properties of galaxies, galaxy mergers and astronomy education and astronomy history. At Swinburne Glen is Coordinator of Swinburne Astronomy Online, editor and contributor to Cosmos, the SAO encyclopedia of astronomy and an AstroTour guide. In 2011 Glen published the textbook "Multiwavelength Atlas of Galaxies" with Cambridge University Press (CUP). Glen and fellow SAO Instructor Chris Fluke are currently writing a new interactive textbook on cosmology for CUP that will incorporate both normal hardcopy content as well as 3D visualisation of large data sets. Glen has authored general astronomy articles in Sky and Space (Aust.) and "To see the Universe in a grain of Taranaki sand" - North and South (N.Z.) which seems to pop up as a link in Astronomy Picture of the Day quite regularly! Glen has also authored articles Expand into 2013 by toasting 100 years of modern cosmology, The pale blue dot and other ‘selfies’ of Earth and Einstein’s folly: how the search for a unified theory stumped him to his dying day in The Conversation. In his spare time he practices topspin forehands, the noble game of golf, donates bait to fish and seeks the ultimate spiral torpedo. His alterego aperiodically tweets about astronomy/science and other issues on twitter @Glen_Mackie.
- AST80006 Galaxies and their Place in the Universe: Alister Graham
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.
- AST80001 Astrobiology and the Origins of Life : Bita Zaferanloo and Jon Clarke
Dr Bita Zaferanloo attended the Ferdowsi University for her undergraduate studies in Agriculture Engineering/Plant Breeding and continues her master studies in Bu-Ali Sina University working on her project titled as: Transformation of proteinase inhibitor gene to cotton with the aid of Agrobacterium spp. for producing pest-resistant cotton and achieved a High Distinction average including courses and master project in Plant Biotechnology. She obtained her PhD from the Department of Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology at the Swinburne University of Technology in Prof Enzo Palombo laboratory working on natural products and drug discovery in microbial biotechnology field. Following the successful completion of her PhD in 2014, searching on the Endophytes from Australian native plants as novel sources of bioactive compounds for industrial, environmental and medicinal applications, she was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology at the Swinburne University of Technology in the same year 2014. Since she joined to Swinburne University of technology in 2014, she started to explore and develop a profound passion and broad aptitude for learning and teaching.
Dr Jonathan Clarke received his PhD from Flinders University in South Australia in 1988 for a thesis on the Early Cambrian geology of Wilkawillina Gorge in South Australia, an area known for some of the oldest metazoan reefs in Australia. Over the course of his career he has worked in the exploration, government, and university sectors. His work has covered mineral and energy exploration, regolith geosciences, marine geology, geomorphology and palaeontology. Jonathan has worked extensively in the Precambrian terrains of Australia, including the Pilbara, Yilgarn and Gawler Cratons, the Mt Isa region, and the Flinders Ranges. This has led to considerable exposure to the record of early life on Earth. He has contributed to over 100 peer-reviewed papers, the most cited of which include papers on the history of aridity in the Atacama Desert in South America, the significance of biogenic opal in the regolith, the evolution of the palaeodrainages of Western Australia, and inverted relief on Mars. Other papers have included research into Pilbara stromatolites and their significance to martian astrobiology. Jonathan has also edited “Mars analog research” (AAS, 2006), and contributed chapters on extraterrestrial aridity in the third edition of Extraterrestrial arid surface processes (Wiley, 2011), extraterrestrial regolith in the Regolith Textbook (CSIRO 2008) and to “Mars expedition planning” (AAS 2004). He is president of Mars Society Australia, an associate of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, and has spent three rotations at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. When he can, Jonathan enjoys scuba diving, reading, movies, and bushwalking.
- AST80002 Astrophotography & CCD Imaging: 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 Powerhouse Museum) where she now works full-time as an Astronomy Educator. 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 through Sydney Observatory and for the past 15 years at the St George and Sutherland Community College. She has been an active member of Sutherland Astronomical Society for over 20 years with her main interest in astro-imaging. Ten years ago she initiated the formation of the astro-imaging group which she has just stepped down from coordinating. She is also a member of the Astronomical Society of NSW. 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. In the last few years 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.
- AST80003 Cosmology and the Large-scale Structure of the Universe: Michael Murphy
Prof Michael Murphy received a B.Sc.(Hons) in 1999 and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of New South Wales in 2003. He then worked as Research Fellow at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge (UK) from 2003 to mid-2007 before taking up a lectureship at the Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology.
Michael's research involves using quasars as background light sources to study the gas in and around galaxies, as well as the intergalactic medium, along the quasar line of sight from Earth. The 'circumgalactic' and intergalactic gas imprint characteristic absorption lines onto the quasar's spectrum; studies of these absorption lines therefore enables the extraction of detailed information about how galaxies accrete gas to form new stars and expel gas as massive stars explode. The absorption lines also carry information about fundamental physics in the distant galaxies. For example, Michael's research has focused on determining whether some of the so-called "fundamental constants of nature" are indeed constant or whether they vary over the huge cosmological time- and distance-scales between the galaxies and Earth. Michael typically gathers his quasar spectra using the world's largest optical telescopes, particularly the Keck and Subaru Telescopes in Hawaii and the Very Large Telescopes in Chile.
- AST80015 Planetary Science: 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.
- AST80012 Major Project - History of Astronomy: Jeremy Mould Prof Jeremy Mould is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and of the Australian National University. He is a professor at Swinburne University’s Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing and professorial fellow at the University of Melbourne. Jeremy Mould was Director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) from 2001-2007. NOAO is the National Science Foundation’s facility for ground-based astronomical research at optical and infrared wavelengths in the USA. Preceding appointments were Professor of Astronomy at the Australian National University, Director of the ANU's Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics, and Professor of Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology's Palomar Observatory. His career has mostly been in optical/infrared observatories. Besides Palomar, he has worked at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, Kitt Peak National Observatory, and Mount Wilson & Las Campanas Observatories. Jeremy has worked on numerous teams, advisory and planning committees for NASA. At Caltech he served three years as Executive Officer for Astronomy and then joined the Science Steering Committee for the W.M. Keck Telescope, now the world's largest optical telescope. He was chairman of the Anglo-Australian Telescope Board 1999/2000, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science from 1998. Awarded the American Astronomical Society's Newton Lacy Pierce prize in 1982 jointly with his late colleague Marc Aaronson and the Gruber Prize in Cosmology with Wendy Freedman and Rob Kennicutt in 2009, Jeremy's research interests are in observational cosmology and observational aspects of stellar evolution.