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The ability of radio astronomers to study the Universe is radically changing, and will enable new studies of how galaxies have evolved across cosmic time in ways never before possible. Australia’s $250M ASKAP telescope now taken its first images, as has South Africa’s MeerKAT facility. This project will use data from these world-leading telescopes to advance the frontier in understanding how the gas content of galaxies has changed over billions of years of cosmic history, and how that relates to their stars, dust, and dark matter content.

Our understanding of the Universe is dominated by studies at optical wavelengths, and the emission from stars. While such studies have led to huge advances in our understanding of galaxy evolution, they can only reveal part of the picture. A crucial extra ingredient to study is the material that stars are made of – gas. The Square Kilometre Array and its pathfinders will lead to huge advances in this field, enabling studies of the emission from neutral atomic hydrogen at much larger distances than ever before, and extend the number of galaxies that can be studied from hundreds to tens of thousands. Numerous opportunities exist for PhD research in some of the leading deep astronomical surveys currently underway: DINGO (being carried out on ASKAP; and led by Dr Meyer); the LADUMA and MIGHTEE-HI surveys (occurring on MeerKAT); along with the nearly completed CHILES survey (on the VLA in the United States). Together these surveys will provide an unparalleled insight into the evolution of the gas-rich Universe over the past 5 billion years.

Potential research topics for this project include studies into the assembly of mass, the impact of feedback and environment, galaxy dynamics, galaxy scaling relations, angular momentum, the Tully-Fisher relationship, the nature and connection to dark matter, large-scale structure, cosmology, advanced imaging techniques, HI stacking, source finding, simulations, and supercomputing. Collaboration and travel opportunities also exist with many international partners including the United Kingdom, the Unites States, South Africa, China, Netherlands, and Germany.

Caption: ASKAP (credit: CSIRO).

ASKAP (credit: CSIRO).