RSAA astronomer Dr Mike Ireland has won the 2016 Frederick White Prize of the Australia Academy of Science.
Dr Ireland develops and applies the latest optical and infrared technologies to build innovative astronomical instruments to probe the lifecycles of stars and planets. A central aim of Dr Ireland's research has been to develop instrumentation and techniques capable of finding out how planets form and evolve. One example of this research has been the discovery of the first planet orbiting another star to be caught in the process of formation. He has also shown, both from theory and from observations using innovative astronomical instruments, just how dying solar-type stars shed their outer layers in a wind of molecules and tiny transparent dust grains. Dr Ireland is currently building innovative astronomical instrumentation for detecting planets around other stars, both for Australian telescopes and the largest international telescopes.