PhD candidate, 2017
What is your thesis topic or research interest ?
My PhD is about Milky Way formation and evolution. Stars carry a lot of information about the processes that occurred in our Galaxy's past. By studying their chemical composition and kinematics, we hope to uncover some of these processes. I am involved in the GALAH survey, which aims to survey approx. 1 million star in order to untangle the evolution of the Milky Way disk. In addition, I will survey some 2000 bulge stars with the AAT, to complement the disk studies done by GALAH. This will help us to understand how these two components of the galaxy were related to each other in the past.
Where have you come from to join this program ?
I came from Melbourne town to ANU for my Bachelor of Science. After a 6 months exchange at the University of Groeningen in the Netherlands and an internship at CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, I decided to come back to Stromlo for my PhD.
How did you become interested in Astronomy ?
I noticed how beautiful the night sky was when I was 5. Along the way I've strayed to other studies/careers, but I have basically been in love since!
What experience have you gained while studying at Mt Stromlo?
So much! The PhD is a great opportunity, you learn problem solving, presenting and how to form collaborations among many other skills.
What has been the highlight of the program for you so far ?
There is something really cool about collecting spectra from stars. With just two sets of numbers, you can learn so much not only about the star itself, but also the history of our Milky Way. Observing runs are most fun for me, especially on site at Siding Spring. It is a beautiful place.
What do you see yourself doing upon completion of your PhD ?
I am yet to decide. If it works out, I would love to continue doing research in Astronomy.
Would you recommend Mt Stromlo to others ?
Absolutely - there are world renowned astronomers here, and everyone is very helpful and friendly. Canberra is also a nice and quiet city, and it's fairly easy to get around.
What advice would you give to someone considering studying Astronomy ?
Definitely give it a go, and have as much fun as you can !