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.
P: 08 6488 3819
Robin is a Belgian-born, Australian-bred research associate at ICRAR/UWA with a passion for all things science and astronomy. Robin is currently undertaking a postdoctoral research position with the Deep Extragalactic VIsible Legacy Survey (DEVILS) at ICRAR/UWA.
Robin began studying astronomy at Curtin University in Perth, WA where he completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours majoring in Astrophysics. He then went on to complete a PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Western Australia studying cold gas reservoirs in galaxies under the supervision of A/Prof Barbara Catinella, A/Prof Luca Cortese and A/Prof Aaron Robotham.
Alongside research, Robin is also very passionate about science outreach and education. He regularly visit schools all around Western Australia to share the excitement of astronomy to communities both near are far. As a regular volunteer at the Perth Observatory, he also showcases the beautiful Western Australian night sky to the public.
ARC Future 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).
Senior Research Fellow
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.
I’m a postdoctoral research associate working on science with large-scale galaxy IFU surveys (SAMI, MaNGA). My main interest is galaxy morphology, and understanding why galaxies look the way they do. I use a combination of techniques, including stellar population analysis, and gas and stellar kinematic tracers.
I am a postdoctoral researcher at Curtin University interested in accreting compact objects. My research ranges from theoretical modelling of explosions on the surface of neutron stars, to observations of neutron stars and black holes in binary systems, to radio observations of stars being destroyed by supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies.
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.
Senior Research Fellow and ASTRO 3D Fellow
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.
Director (Australian SKA Regional Centre)
Dr Karen Lee-Waddell is the Director of the Australian SKA Regional Centre (AusSRC, https://aussrc.org), jointly appointed at ICRAR and CSIRO. In this role, she is leading the Australian effort to build computing and data intensive research capabilities that will support astronomers using the current and next generation of radio telescopes.
Karen is also currently the Project Scientist for WALLABY (https://wallaby-survey.org), the all-sky neutral hydrogen survey that is being conducted on CSIRO’s newest telescope, the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP).
P: 08 9266 9169
Originally from the UK, I came to Aus in 2013 to do a PhD and never left. I’m a member of the MWA Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) team, who are trying to observe the Universe at the time when the first stars switched on.
I specialise in:
– EoR science
– Simulating radio interferometric responses, mostly what the MWA sees
– Modelling large complex galaxies like Fornax A using shapelets
– Using / writing GPU code to run simulations (I use a combination of python, C, and CUDA languages to write my software)
Example software packages I have written:
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.
Honorary Research Fellow
Liz studied the X-ray properties of the black holes, jets and environments of radio galaxies during her PhD.
She now designs and builds outreach tools to allow members of the public to interact with scientific data or explain difficult astronomical concepts in an intuitive way, engaging new generations of would-be astronomers.
She is also a front-end web developer at the Australian Astronomical Observatory in Sydney, working on AAO node of the All-Sky Virtual Observatory (ASVO) project, which connects researchers to a wealth of theoretical and observational data from telescopes across the globe.
Specialisation: Web design & development. Graphic design.
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 3640
Areas of expertise & experience:
– Pulsar astronomy (emission physics, polarimetry, subpulse drifting)
– MWA high time resolution instrumentation
– Signal processing (polyphase filterbanks, tied-array beamforming)
– GPU acceleration (CUDA)
Active areas of research interest:
– Relativistic plasmas and coherent emission mechanisms
– Transient detection techniques
– Polarimetric calibration
Senior Principal Research Fellow
P: 08 6488 7728
I am an American/Australian Astronomer, working at the University of Western Australia’s node of the International Centre of Radio Astronomy Research.
From 1979 to 1983 I studied for my undergraduate BA degree at Vassar College (Poughkeepsie, NY, USA), and the University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand). From 1984 to 1989, I studied for my PhD at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (it’s current name, then it was Mount Stromlo and Siding Springs Observatories) at the Australian National University.
From 1990, I held postdoctoral positions at the Anglo Australian Observatory (Australia), Universit’e de Montr’eal (Canada), The Space Telescope Science Institute (USA), and the Johns Hopkins University (USA). I continued at the Johns Hopkins University as a Research Scientist until the beginning of 2010. That is when I arrived back in Australia to take up my position as a Research Professor at the University of Western Australia.
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.
ARC Future Fellow and Interim Head International Space Centre
P: 08 6488 7388
I am an astrophysicist at the UWA node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research and the Head of the International Space Centre. I currently hold a Future Fellowship of the Australian Research Council.
I was born and raised in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. After graduating in theoretical physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Lausanne, Switzerland) and the Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, US), I obtained my PhD in extragalactic astrophysics at the University of Oxford (UK) in 2009. Subsequently, I spent two years in the private industry before joining ICRAR/UWA as a faculty member in 2011.
I have a passion for many fields in modern physics, astrophysics and cosmology. My primary research focus lies in extragalactic astrophysics, using a combination of analytical, computational and observational tools. I am also passionately committed to experimental research in microgravity and have served as a mission specialist on over 450 parabolic flight manoeuvres aboard the Airbus zero-g with the European Space Agency ESA.
Privately, I enjoy a family life with three lovely boys.
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 Principal Research 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, as a research associate professor and ARC Future Fellow, and since 2021 as a research professor. 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 a Chief Investigator for the ARC CoE ASTRO 3D, and I hold a variety of advisory and oversight committee roles, with a particular interest in astronomical high performance computing.
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.
Principal 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.
My most recent research efforts have involved the development of a number of software packages that we use extensively within our group (and increasingly elsewhere). These are hyper.fit (hyper plane fitting), ProFit (2D galaxy modelling), ProFound (source extraction) and ProSpect (SED fitting). I supervise and collaborate with people on a number of related projects, so please get in touch if these interest you.
Research Fellow (ASTRO 3D)
P: 08 6488 7749
I am an observational astronomer interested in galaxy formation and evolution. My expertise lies in radio observations, especially observations of the 21 cm emission line from neutral hydrogen from extragalactic sources.
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
My honours and PhD projects for UWA were mostly spent at Perth Observatory – I helped automate the 61cm telescope there, built the first digital camera in WA, and helped set up an automated supernova search. I then worked at Perth Observatory as a staff member from 1996-2013. My research there involved working with the PLANET and MiNDSTEp gravitational microlensing groups hunting for extrasolar planets. I started working on Monitor and Control software for the Murchison Widefield Array in 2008, and moved to Curtin in 2013, where I work as an instrumentation engineer, on the MWA and other projects.
Adjunct Senior Research Fellow
P: 08 6436 8602
-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)
– Machine learning applications for future radio astronomy surveys