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Tamara Davis, Professor University of Queensland, Australia
In the eyes of an astrophysicist, the universe is a huge experiment with which to test fundamental physics, and our modern telescopes are giving us an unprecedented view. We can now see the universe as it was only 380,000 years after the big bang, before galaxies even existed. We have found thousands of planets orbiting other stars, and we regularly detect supernovae that went off billions of years before the earth even formed. We've discovered some kind of "dark energy" that is making the expansion of the universe speed up, contrary to our expectation that gravity should slow it down. And we’ve now even detected gravitational waves — ripples in space itself. In this talk you’ll hear about many of the latest exciting developments in modern astrophysics, including Tamara’s work with the Dark Energy Survey, a 5-year project involving almost 500 astrophysicists on 5 continents.
Professor Tamara Davis is an astrophysicist searching for the elusive “dark energy” that’s accelerating the universe. She’s measured time-dilation in distant supernovae, helped make one of the largest maps of the distribution of galaxies in the universe, and produced evidence of sound waves propagating shortly after the big bang. Her many prizes include the Astronomical Society of Australia's award for the young researcher with the highest international impact, and the Australian Academy of Science’s Nancy Millis medal for female leadership in science.
Andrew Peele, Director Australian Synchrotron and President Australian Institute of Physics and Professor La Trobe University, Australia
The Australian Synchrotron has been operational for over a decade and in that time has delivered thousands of experiments to over 6,000 registered researchers. Now a part of ANSTO, the facility continues to be one of the most significant investments in scientific infrastructure in Australia.
Research delivered by the Australian Synchrotron is the product of an ideal mix of people, infrastructure and science and provides benefits to our economy, our health and our environment. World-class results from the facility include impacts in human health, including the development of new drugs combatting diseases such as leukaemia, impacts in advanced materials, including new materials for lightweight vehicles and impacts in earth and environmental sciences, including better understanding for mining and development of high-nutrient food.
In this talk Andrew will explain how the Australian Synchrotron operates and will showcase some of the unique capability of the facility in imaging and characterisation. These research tools then allow researchers accessing the facility to work at the forefront of their fields and Andrew will describe some of the high-profile success stories from the facility. These include those in health, materials and environment but also in fields such as cultural heritage where research has included better understanding details of the earliest occupation of Australia as well as details of documents left by the first European explorers.
Andrew Peele is the Director of the Australian Synchrotron at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Physics at La Trobe University and president of the Australian Institute of Physics.
Andrew's research improves the versatility and quality of x-ray imaging, including new methods in high-resolution and three-dimensional imaging of structured materials ranging from cells to advanced materials.
As Director of the Australian Synchrotron Andrew has led the BRIGHT program, an initiative which, to date, has raised over $80 million in contributions to build new beamlines at the Australian Synchrotron.