All the Guests

Professor Fred Watson

Fred Watson

Fred Watson has been Astronomer-in-Charge of the Australian Astronomical Observatory since 1995, but is best known for his radio and TV broadcasts, books, and other outreach programmes - including science tourism. Fred is a musician, too, with both a science-themed CD and an award-winning symphony libretto to his name. Fred was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010. He has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson), but says that if it hits the Earth, it won't be his fault.

Professor Matthew Colless

Matthew Colless

Professor Matthew Colless is Director of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) at the Australian National University (ANU). He was for nine years previously the Director of the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO), Australia's national optical observatory. He obtained his BSc at Sydney, his PhD at Cambridge, and has held positions at Durham, Kitt Peak and Cambridge as well as at AAO and ANU. His research uses large redshift and peculiar velocity surveys of galaxies to understand their evolution and the large-scale structures they form, and to measure cosmological parameters. Prof. Colless led the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey, which provided the first precise measurements of the total density of matter in the universe and established the amounts of dark matter, baryons and neutrinos. He also led the 6dF Galaxy Survey that mapped the motions as well as the positions of galaxies. He has played leading roles in the WiggleZ survey, which probed the nature of the mysterious 'dark energy,' and the GAMA survey, which elucidates the formation and mass assembly of galaxies. He is now leading the Taipan survey that aims to obtain more than one million redshifts and more than 50,000 distances and velocities for nearby galaxies, and measure the Hubble constant with 1% precision. Prof. Colless is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an ISI Citation Laureate, a former Vice-President of the International Astronomical Union, and the ANU’s Founder representative for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) project, a next-generation 25-metre optical telescope

Dr Julie Banfield

Julie Banfield

Julie Banfield is a Canadian-Australian astrophysicist studying the impact of super-massive black holes on their host galaxy. She is the co-leader of the citizen science project Radio Galaxy Zoo (radio.galaxyzoo.org) where any person, regardless of background, can join in on the hunt for active super-massive black holes. One of the major findings from Radio Galaxy Zoo was the discovery of the Matorny-Terentev Galaxy Cluster, named after the two volunteer citizen scientists who discovered the giant radio galaxy.

Born in Peterborough Ontario Canada, Julie’s love for astronomy began in her early childhood - a result from the dark skies in her small home town. However, Julie did not originally go to school to be an astronomer. Her first studies were in aviation management and becoming a pilot. After one year, Julie dropped out to become an astronomer. She was awarded her PhD in radio astronomy from the University of Calgary in 2011, from there Julie moved to Australia to begin her first postdoc position at CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science. After four years, she joined the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) at the Australian National University where she is currently based.

Dr Hercules (Iraklis) Konstantopoulos

Ivy Wong

Growing up by the mountains of Northern Greece, Hercules Konstantopoulos developed a fascination with the night sky and all its intrigue. After a career as a researcher in astrophysics that spanned ten years and four continents, he became drawn to addressing a greater variety of data-related problems. These days he earns his keep as a senior data analyst at Atlassian, the world leader on software for teams.

Dr Ivy Wong

Ivy Wong

Originally from Melbourne, Dr Ivy Wong is a research astronomer working in Perth at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) hosted by the University of Western Australia. Ivy received her PhD from the University of Melbourne in 2008. She then worked at Yale University and CSIRO (Sydney) before moving to ICRAR/UWA (Perth). She studies what shapes galaxies and how galaxies start and stop forming stars while growing their supermassive black holes. In particular she is very interested in the smaller and more unassuming supermassive black holes, just like the one in the centre of our Milky Way. Her plans are to use the new radio telescopes being built in Western Australia to help her figure out the answers to some of these questions. In addition, Ivy also works with 2 citizen science projects, Galaxy Zoo and Radio Galaxy Zoo. She co-leads the Radio Galaxy Zoo citizen science project with Dr Julie Banfield. Check out radio.galaxyzoo.org and help find black holes in distant galaxies!