ICRAR’s research staff form the backbone of our activities in astronomy, engineering and data intensive astronomy.
They work across our many projects in areas as varied as telescope systems design and verification, large scale simulations of the Universe, and the overwhelming computing systems required for the next generation of telescopes and galaxy surveys.
P: 08 9266 3785
I specialise in the rapid radio follow-up and monitoring of high energy transients. I study a wide range of astronomical transients (explosive or eruptive events) including gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), supernovae, black hole X-ray binaries, tidal disruption events, magnetars and flare stars.
Senior Research Fellow
P: 08 6488 3663
Science Units: Multiwavelength and Spectroscopic Surveys; Gas and Feedback with Radio Surveys.
Expertise: Star formation cycle, interstellar medium and environmental effects in nearby galaxies.
Current and past large surveys: The SAMI Galaxy Survey, The GALEX Arecibo SDSS Survey, The Herschel Reference Survey, The Herschel Virgo Cluster Survey.
PhD, 2005, Universita’ degli Studi di Milano Bicocca (Italy) and Universite de Provence (France).
WAVES Project Scientist
P: 08 6488 7750
All about the galaxy life cycle
Dr Davies looks at galaxies of all shapes and sizes to compare those that existed in the early Universe to those that formed more recently.
Luke’s big research question at the moment is ‘do galaxies form more stars when they dramatically smash together?’
Research Specialisation: Galaxy evolution by comparing the stellar, dust and molecular gas components of star-forming systems in the early Universe.
P: 08 9266 9475
I am reasearcher at CIRA (Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy), working on galaxy evolution. More particularly, I focus on the co-evolution active galatic nuclei (AGN) emitting at radio wavelengths in the early Universe. My main interest is to understand how the central supermassive black hole at the center of the AGN formed, evolved and influenced the formation and evolution of the most massive galaxies observed in the local Universe.
I also work on gravitationally amplified galaxies. Thanks to a massive structure (galaxy or galaxy cluster) located on the line of sight of distant galaxies, fainter background galaxies are magnified, both in power and resolution. Thanks to this natural boost, we are able to probe scales otherwise unobservable, even with our most powerful telescopes, and understand the star formation properties in the peak of the activity in the young Universe.
Research Fellow (ASTRO 3D)
P: 08 6488 7543
Building Synthetic Universes
Dr. Pascal uses simulations of cosmic structure formation as laboratories to test theories of galaxy formation, dark matter, dark energy and gravity.
Pascal uses his virtual laboratories to answer two big questions. How to galaxies, such as our own Milky Way, form and evolve? What makes up the invisible part of our Universe, that is what is dark matter and what is dark energy?
Specialisation: Computational Astrophysics, Galaxy Formation, Cosmology, Code development.
Early Career Research Fellow
P: 08 9266 9178
New telescopes, the flat flat desert and supernova remnants.
Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker gets to play with the first data from a brand new telescope, one of the first of its kind.
She’s discovering new things, creating some stunning images, and seeing a part of outback Australia that not many people get to travel to.
Specialisation: MWA Imaging & Calibration
P: 08 9266 9224
BUDI JUSWARDY received B.Eng (Electrical Engineering) from National University of Singapore, M.Sc from Nanyang Technological University, and PhD from Edith Cowan Unviersity.
From Jan 2001 to Jun 2002, He was attached to Institue of Microelectronic (A-Star, Singapore), working on SRAM and Delta-sigma modulator. He was an Electrical Engineer with Personal Communication Sector, Motorola Electronics, Singapore, from 2003 to 2006. He was with WA Centre for Microphotonic Systems, Electron Science Research Institute Edith Cowan University, as a Posdoctoral Research Fellow from 2009 -2010, working on LCoS and Optical Communication Circuits.
Currently, he is a Research Engineer with Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy, Curtin University since 2011, working on Low-frequency Aperture Array Verification System for the Square Kilometer Array project. His research interests include RF Circuits and Systems, Optical Communication, and Renewable Energy Systems.
P: 08 9266 7461
Maria will be working on SKA station simulation and verification to support SKA bridging activities. Maria’s expertise is in antenna design and numerical optimization. She also has industrial experience in satellite communications and emergency radio beacons. Her teaching experience includes mathematics, electronics and antennas and propagation.
P: 08 9266 9172
I work on understanding the media which FRBs propagate through, with a view to developing these bursts as precision probes of the baryonic content of intergalactic space, and solving the mystery of the progenitors of these enigmatic objects along the way.
ARC Early Career Researcher
P: 08 6488 3677
I am Research Assistant at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, in the University of Western Australia. I am in this position as an awardee of a Discovery Early Career Researcher. Before, I spent three years as a fellow at the European Southern Observatory. I was awarded my PhD from the Institute for computational cosmology in Durham University, in November 2012. My broad area of research is galaxy formation and evolution.
In 2014 I was recognised with a MERAC prize for the best European PhD Thesis in Theoretical Astrophysics in the years 2012 and 2013. Later in 2014, I was recognised in Chile as one of the `100 Women Leaders’ and one of the `100 Young Leaders’ of the country for my contributions to Astrophysics (see News). In 2016 I was recognised as the distinguished fellow of the year by the Institute of Advanced Studies at UWA.
P: 08 9266 7049
Christene has a background in studying radio transients, with a focus on flare stars and exoplanet emission. She has a large amount of expertise with MWA data, including imaging and polarimetry. At ICRAR, she is an ASTRO 3D postdoctoral researcher working to help the MWA EoR collaboration improve its calibration sky model.
P: 08 9266 9179
The first billion years of the Universe’s evolution has yet to be observed in detail and very little is known about the first stars and galaxies that came into existence in this early period. One avenue to explore this epoch is to study the faint radio waves from neutral hydrogen atoms and there are now many experiments across the globe trying to do this. In 2018, the Experiment to Detect the Global Epoch of Reionization Signature (EDGES) detected a very unusual signal, which could be our first glimpse at the period when the first stars and galaxies began to heat the gas in the early Universe, a period known as Cosmic Dawn. There is now a great interest in the astronomical community to independently verify this detection, and that is currently the main focus of my research.
Neutral hydrogen atoms can randomly undergo an energy transition where their electron’s spin orientation ‘flips’, resulting in the emission of a photon with 21-cm wavelength. The early Universe was abundant with neutral hydrogen and, due to the expansion of the Universe, these early 21-cm photons have now been stretched (redshifted) to wavelengths between 1 – 6 m. We should therefore be able to observe a redshifted 21-cm signal from the early Universe using radio telescopes, however, there are complications. There are extremely bright foregrounds in the way that obscure the signal, including radio emission from our own Galaxy and from other extra-galactic sources, such as accreting supermassive black holes. Also, the instruments used to observe the radio emission can introduce small, but significant structure into an observed signal, due to imperfections in calibration. These two effects couple together, making the whole process of detection extremely difficult.
The EDGES experiment used a single, well-calibrated, dipole antenna to observe the sky-averaged or ‘global’ sky signal at low radio frequencies corresponding to the redshift of Cosmic Dawn. My research is aimed at verifying this detection and extending the observation to higher frequencies in order to learn more about the period when the neutral hydrogen becomes ionised by radiating sources, the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR). To achieve this, I am using a novel approach that will have different systematic errors than EDGES and hence may provide a reliable, independent, verification. My research uses interferometers, rather than single antennas, in order to try and detect the global redshifted 21-cm signal. Interferometers (such as the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope in Western Australia) are not normally sensitive to this global signal, as they are designed to detect angular fluctuations of a signal across the sky. However, under some specific conditions, interferometers can be used in search of the elusive signal.
So far I have experimented with using the Moon as a known thermal reference source. It should be possible to determine the mean temperature of the sky occulted by the Moon using an interferometer (such as the MWA) if the spectrum and shape of the Moon is known. This project has encountered challenges such as dealing with reflected ‘earthshine’ from terrestrial radio transmitters, and also emission from the Galaxy bouncing of the Moon. Efforts are now concentrating on better understanding these sources of interference.
My current work is focussed on designing an experiment to use many, very short baselines of an interferometer. If the distance between two antennas in an interferometer is small enough, the baseline will be sensitive to a global signal as well as the angular variations. The main challenge of this experiment is to determine how the antennas affect each other in a process known as mutual coupling. If the mutual coupling effects introduce too much spectral structure into the observed signal then the redshifted 21-cm signature will be obscured or distorted. Simulations and early test observations using the Engineering Development Array-2, co-located with the MWA, are now underway. Experimentation with signal extraction techniques using simulated data is also underway.
P: 08 9266 7013
Ian is working with Randall Wayth in the Astronomical Instrumentation team, initially completing the development work for the upgraded MWA correlator then increasing support for SKA-related work including the EDA2 and future EPA. Ian has a background in satellite communications and has research interests in signal detection and SETI and is a member of SKA transients and cradle of life working groups.
Research Associate (CAASTRO)
P: 08 9266 1285
I am a research associate with the Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO). After finishing my PhD at UWA in 2015, which concerned statistical and computational analyses of dark matter haloes, I moved to Curtin where I am a part of the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) team, using the MWA to attempt to detect the faint signals of the first stars and galaxies.
My role in this team is primarily statistical. Detection of the EoR is an incredibly ambitious undertaking. Not only is the signal extremely faint, but between it and us is basically every galaxy and star in the Universe. These intervening objects obscure and distort the signal we are trying to detect, and so to unravel their impact requires sophisticated statistical machinery. My job is to provide some of that machinery, so that one day we can hope to extract that all-important signal.
Senior Research Fellow
P: 08 6488 7388
Danail Obreschkow has a passion for many fields in modern astrophysics and cosmology. His core areas of research include galaxy evolution, star formation, as well as cosmic large-scale structure. His research style mixes computational, analytical and observational methods, having supervised research students using all these methods. Over the last decade, Danail developed new models of for the evolution of cold gas in galaxies, highly relevant to modern observations and future surveys on the Square Kilometre Array telescope. More recently, Danail and his collaborators made fundamental discoveries on the connection between galactic angular momentum and the internal physics of galaxies; and his team also demonstrated the use of new statistical tools to extract information about the cosmos from the large-scale distribution of galaxies in space.
P: 08 9266 9110
I am a Research Fellow at Curtin node of ICRAR. I did my Ph.D. in 2015 at the Raman Research Institute, Bangalore, India with Dr. Ravi Subrahmanyan. I was a co-supervised student at the Australia Telescope National Facility (2012-2014) with Dr. Ron Ekers. I am an Electronics and Telecommunication Engineer from the Indian Institue of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur (erstwhile known as Shibpur B.E. College). I also worked as an Associate System Engineer at the IBM from 2007-2008 before joining my Ph.D.
Senior Research Fellow - Peter Curran Memorial Fellow
P: 08 9266 3577
My research focuses on accreting black holes, where I use multiwavelength space- and ground-based observations to study acrcretion over the full range of black hole masses (from stellar to supermassive) and accretion rates (from quiescent to super-Eddington). My main research goal is to better understand the structure/geometry of accretion flows (and their outflows) in different accretion regimes, in order to more effectively use radiation as a probe of Galactic and extragalactic black hole populations, and to learn how black holes may impact their large-scale environments.
ARC Future Fellow
P: 08 6488 7630
I am a computational astrophysicist working on a broad range of problems in galaxy formation and cosmology. My particular interests are in dark matter – what is its nature? what kinds of observations will allow us to discriminate between alternative models? – and in how feedback from stars and black holes (i.e. deposition of energy and momentum into their surroundings) impact the formation and evolution of galaxies. Most of this work requires powerful supercomputers, and so I also have an ongoing interest in scientific high performance computing.
I obtained a BA in Theoretical Physics from Trinity College Dublin in 1999, and a PhD from Durham University in 2003. Between 2004 and 2011, I held postdoc positions in the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing in Melbourne (2004-07) and with the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the University of Leicester (2008-11). I have been at ICRAR/UWA since 2011, initially as a research assistant professor and, since 2014, as a research associate professor and ARC Future Fellow. Here at ICRAR/UWA, I lead the Computational Theory and Modelling Group, a team of approximately 20 staff, postdocs and students working on a variety of simulation, modelling, and statistical problems in galaxy formation and cosmology.
I am an associate member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), and am a Chief Investigator for the new ARC CoE CAASTRO3D. I also serve on various committees, including the Astronomical Society of Australia council, the Australia Telescope Time Assignment Committee (TAC), the Astronomy Supercomputer Time Allocation Committee (ASTAC), and the Australian e-Research Advisory Committee (AeRAC).
Research Fellow (ASTRO 3D)
P: 08 6488 7570
Dr. Rhee’s research interest is galaxy evolution and cosmology using neutral hydrogen (HI) observation. He is now working on HI gas evolution out to z~1.0 using ASKAP DINGO and Parkes as well as HI spectral stacking and intensity mapping technique.
Senior Research Fellow
P: 08 6488 5564
I’m predominantly an observational astronomer, mostly working on the GAMA survey (both with redshift data and multi-band imaging). The main science I have been working on recent years has been focused on GAMA groups and close-pairs (which I constructed). I also dabble in simulations and semi-analytics, with a particular interest in mergers and intra-halo light at the moment.
Forrest Postdoctoral Fellow
P: 08 6488 7795
My research focusses on the dynamical and physical properties of star-forming galaxies over the last 10 billion years, encompassing 70 percent of all cosmic history. It is primarily based on integral field spectroscopy (IFS) observations of nebular and stellar emission from star-forming galaxies with the KMOS, MUSE and SAMI spectrographs. Allowing the simultaneous capture of both galaxy spectra and images in a single observation, IFS provides a new, three-dimensional view of galaxies and is currently revolutionising our understanding of these fundamental units of large-scale structure in the cosmos. My aim is to make significant progress in explaining how, and by which mechanisms, galaxies have grown and evolved over cosmic history – a fundamental and as yet unsolved puzzle piece in our understanding of the Universe.
P: 08 9266 9247
Randall is a radio astronomer with a background in computer science and electrical engineering. He has broad astrophysical interests ranging from dark matter through to the birth of the first stars and galaxies. He has technical expertise in radio telescope design, digital signal processing, high performance computing and radio engineering. He has been involved with the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope since 2005 and led the science commissioning and GLEAM survey teams.
As a scientist with a technical background, Randall bridges the gap between the science and engineering communities and works on novel ways to use radio telescope instrumentation. More recently he has taken on leadership roles within the MWA collaboration and is the Project Scientist for the SKA-Low Aperture Array Design Consortium.
MWA Instrument Engineer – M&C
P: 08 9266 9474
Worked at Perth Observatory from 1996-2013 – automated the 61cm telescope there, built a CCD camera, and helped set up an automated supernova search. Worked with the PLANET and MiNDSTEp gravitational microlensing groups hunting for extrasolar planets. Started working on Monitor and Control software for the Murchison Widefield Array in 2008, and moved to Curtin in 2013.
P: 08 6488 7761
-Physical processes that govern how galaxies form stars, grow supermassive black holes and evolve
-Multiwavelength observational astronomy
-Large radio continuum and atomic Hydrogen (HI) surveys
-Radio Galaxy Zoo (http://radio.galaxyzoo.org)
Senior Research Fellow
P: 08 6488 6725
Chen has extensive experience in applying data-intensive science (such as graph theory, machine learning, combinatorial optimisation, workload characterisation, and data visualisation) to the design, development, optimisation and operation of large-scale dataflow systems for astronomical data processing and management.
Chen is currently developing the graph-based execution engine to support data processing pipelines for the SKA Science Data Processor (SDP) and the SKA regional centre. He is also the lead author in applying deep learning methods for radio source detection and classification for the Radio Galaxy Zoo citizen science project.
Chen has been working with his colleagues on the development and operation of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) data system, which includes data capturing, in-storage processing, long-haul data distribution and long-term archival storage management. His research in this area involves optimal data placement algorithms and disk cache sizing strategies.
At UWA, Chen delivered High Performance Computing and Parallel Programming lectures to Physics Honours students and Machine Learning seminars to ICRAR researchers.