SAO Instructors

Semester 2/Study Period 3, 2017

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

We are currently organising our list of instructors for the next semester.

Note: This is a preliminary allocation and may change prior to semester start.
  • AST80004 Exploring Stars and the Milky Way: Glenn Kacprzak and Ned Taylor

    Dr Glenn Kacprzak received a B.Sc.(Hons) in Astrophysics from Queen's University, Kingston, Canada in 2001, a M.Sc. in Astronomy from Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Canada in 2005 and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, USA in 2008. He is currently an Australian Research council Future Fellow at Swinburne University where he specializes in galaxy evolution and the circumgalactic medium.

    Dr Edward Taylor joined CAS in 2016 as an ARC Future Fellow. His current work is focused on pioneering new approaches to exploiting the phenomenon of weak gravitational lensing in order to measure the amount and distribution of dark matter surrounding individual galaxies. Dr Taylor’s research background is mostly in census-class surveys of galaxies at high and low redshift. After earning his Ph.D. at Sterrewacht Leiden/Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands in 2009, Dr Taylor returned to Australia first as a postdoc first at the University of Sydney, and then as an ARC DECRA Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Since coming home, Dr Taylor has been closely involved in the GAMA and SAMI galaxy survey projects, and is now playing a leading role in the development of the Waves and Taipan galaxy survey projects. In his spare time, he enjoys his favourite chair, which sits in front of a Rotel RA-12, driving a classic pair of Time Frame 500 towers.

  • AST80005 Exploring the Solar System: David Fisher and Kurt Liffman
  • Dr David Fisher is a postdoctoral fellow at Swinburne University.

    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.

  • AST80008 History of Astronomy: Katrina Sealey
  • Dr Katrina Sealey studied astrophysics at UNSW receiving her PhD in 1997. Katrina's major focus was in observational cosmology and she has spent considerable time observing on optical telescopes all over the world including Australia, Chile and La Palma, undertaking her southern sky quasar survey. During these years Katrina gained specialist astronomical IT skills resulting in her recent appointment as the Australian Astronomical Observatory's IT Manager. Katrina shares her time between the AAO offices in North Ryde and the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran.Over the last 20 years Katrina has also worked as an astronomy educator at Sydney Observatory and has taught many general and undergraduate astronomy courses, and for the past 10 years, Katrina has taught the SAO Short Course. Katrina has a keen personal interest in the History of Astronomy and is about to begin her own research into some historically significant astronomical sights in Australia and around the world. Katrina is eagerly looking forward to teaching this unit.

  • AST80011 Major Project: Computational Astrophysics : Jarrod Hurley
  • Prof. Jarrod Hurley has a B.Sc.(Hons) in Applied Mathematics from Monash University and obtained a Ph.D. from the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge in 2000. He has worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and is now a lecturer at the Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology.

    Jarrod works mostly in the area of computational astrophysics, focussing on the evolution of stars, binaries and star clusters. Specifically he is interested in the link between these areas and performs N-body simulations on special-purpose GRAPE computers, GPUs and supercomputers. These simulations show how star clusters evolve and look at the exotic stars and binaries that can be produced along the way. Jarrod has also looked at the consequences for planetary evolution in the dense environment of a star cluster. He is also involved in Hubble Space Telescope and Gemini observing programs.

  • AST80013 Major Project - Observational Astronomy: 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 Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences) where she now works full-time as an Astronomy Programs Coordinator. 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 and the St George and Sutherland Community College. She has been an active member of Sutherland Astronomical Society for over 15 years with her main interest in astro-imaging. She initiated the formation of the Astro-Imaging group which she coordinated for ten years before stepping down at the end of 2014. 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. 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.

  • AST80016 Stellar Astrophysics: Duncan Forbes
  • Prof Duncan Forbes has been a faculty member in the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing since August 2000. A New Zealander, who did his PhD at Cambridge, Duncan has also spent time at the Space Telescope Science Institute, Lick Observatory in California and most recently as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham in England. Over the years, he has worked on various aspects of galaxy evolution with a recent fondnes for globular clusters in external galaxies.

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