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Teacher and Teaching Coordinator

Matthew’s principle role in ICRAR is as a coordinator and teacher of undergraduate and postgraduate coursework at The University of Western Australia (UWA).

Units he coordinates include

  • PHYS3003 – Astrophysics and Space Science
  • PHYS4418 – Special Topics in Astrophysics
  • PHYS5513 – Advanced Topics in Astrophysics
  • SHPC4002 – High-Performance Computing

Units he teaches in include

  • PHYS1002 – Modern Physics
    • Writes and oversees the Computational Physics labs.
  • PHYS3003 – Astrophysics and Space Science
    • Coordinates and Teaches almost the whole unit, which includes a substantial photometry project involving the SPIRIT telescopes.
  • PHYS3012 – Frontiers in Modern Physics
    • Oversees the Radio-Astronomy Project using the ICRAR/UWA Small Radio Telescope
  • PHYS5513 – Advanced Topics in Astrophysics
    • Teaches “Radiation Processes in Astrophysics” to Master of Physics students.

Matthew also oversees the Astronomy & Astrophysics specialisation of the Master of Physics course [MPhys (Astro)] at UWA.  This world-class program prepares students both for undertaking a PhD in Astrophysics, and for pursuing a career in industry and the business world outside academia.

Teaching scholarships

In 2016 Matthew was awarded one of the inaugural Education Futures Scholarships for his project “Embedding Computer Programming in the Physics Major“.  During this part-time scholarship Matthew developed new Computational Physics labs for PHYS1002 and commenced the broader embedding of computer programming into the major.  Although the scholarship concluded at the end of 2016, Matthew has continued to be involved with this project.

Teaching Awards

In 2018 Matthew was recognised for his contributions to teaching with two UWA Student Guild Student Choice Awards for Semester 1 PHYS3003 and Semester 2 PHYS3012 respectively. Nomination comments included:

  • “Matthew doesn’t just teach material – he strives to help students truly understand concepts in an exciting and engaging manner. Matthew always goes the extra mile in encouraging students to not just learn a bunch of material, but to enjoy learning, and to be more involved with communicating and presenting ideas with one another. Whether it be the time and effort put in, or the enthusiasm that he always brings to the classroom, it is clear that Matthew has a genuine passion for what he does. It is for these reasons that Matthew deserves the Students’ Choice Award.”
  • “ is very supportive in the way he teaches, encouraging each person to direct the course work into an area of their own interest. This allowed each student to engage in their own way. It was also obvious that he is passionate in the way he taught the class, actively including everyone in the class.”
  • “He is very cheerful, active and a good teacher. He encourages students to work hard and helps them in every way he could.”
  • “I don’t think I’ve ever had a lecturer who was more visibly enthusiastic, not only about the subject matter, but also about teaching. He’s gone to far greater effort than one should expect from a unit coordinator/lecturer for a unit, teaching the unit in a style that tries to use best teaching practices, as well as really trying to engage students. If all my lecturers were like him, I’d have learned a lot more throughout my university studies.”
  • “His involvement with teaching is not just restricted to delivering a good unit, but extends to genuinely care about the well-being of students inside the classroom and out. He trusts that you are capable as a student, and that your effort will generate results implicitly – evident by his preference for flipped classrooms – but goes a step further to offer one-on-one time to not just anyone who has the smallest of questions, but also for addressing any concerns about student well-being. Within the first class we had with him this semester, he was working towards memorising everyone’s names, which I’m sure he almost accomplished on day one. His attention to each student’s needs went above and beyond anything I had ever seen from a lecturer before. Not to mention, his teaching method was memorable and energetic, and the tangents that the class would go down never once felt like a distraction from “getting good marks”, but instead an opportunity for learning enrichment. Even if they were topics that I wasn’t particularly interested in, I still felt fully engaged and excited to learn about them, because of the way he presented them. An ideal teacher from the start of semester to end, and a type I suspect I will be extremely lucky to encounter in the same form again.”
  • “Matthew provides something many other teachers lack, an enthusiastic/passionate approach to work/study. An example of this is his theatrical, yet informative, approach to explanations of theory, creating a much happier learning environment and providing a better student engagement. He honestly goes above and beyond for every student, from creating helpful Mathematica documentation to numerous informative emails back and forth anytime he is available. Approachable, friendly and down-right great teacher.”
  • “He’s extremely motivated, makes the classes engaging, interesting and different, has great acting skills, and works really hard to get to know every student individually, ensuring everyone is keeping up. He’s reinstilled my passion for physics in one unit, and I always looked forward to his classes.”
  • “Matthew always goes above and beyond for his students. Helpful, enthusiastic, and knows how to put a twist on learning to make it fun. He has certainly made me want to continue to pursue a career in Astronomy.” (PHYS3012)

Research Interests

Matthew’s is deeply interested in using astrophysical systems to explore fundamental problems in physics.  Specifically this has led him to work in the area of pulsar astronomy and astrophysics, focussing on gaining a deeper understanding of the pulsar emission [1] and evolution [2] processes.  His co-discovery of a radio pulsar with an 8.5-second period that challenges emission models was reported in the journal Nature [1], and led to a flurry of national and international media attention.

Copyright – Matthew Young 2012

After hours

Matthew lives on a bush block in the Perth hills, with his extended family and pets.  His home is regularly visited by kangaroos, echidnas, possums, snakes, spiders and large scorpions.  He likes dogs.

ICRAR Statement

The content of this page is maintained by Matthew Young, please contact them with any questions or comments on this content.