Professor Bryan Gaensler

My book Extreme Cosmos
Buy it now: Aus/NZ, everywhere else

Sydney Institute for Astronomy
School of Physics, The University of Sydney
44 Rosehill Street, Redfern, NSW 2016, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9351 6053
(last seen in MK L Toronto, Canada; click here for travel schedule)

I am an astronomer, working as a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), and also as an Australian Laureate Fellow in the Sydney Institute for Astronomy within the School of Physics at The University of Sydney. My main research interests are cosmic magnetism, wide-field astronomy, polarimetry, time-domain astrophysics, interstellar turbulence, neutron stars and the Square Kilometre Array; I work with my Extreme Astrophysics group on all these topics.

As an investigator in CAASTRO, I am working to establish Australia as the world-leader in wide-field radio and optical astronomy. The CAASTRO team aims to answer major unsolved problems in astronomy, to develop innovative ways of processing enormous data-sets, and to enable a diverse set of opportunities for students and early career researchers. By bringing Australia's top astronomers together into a focused collaboration, CAASTRO aims to cement Australia's reputation as an international leader in astrophysical research, and to build unique expertise in wide-field radio and optical astronomy. CAASTRO also aims to position Australia to lead the science programmes planned for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a radio telescope for the 21st century that will answer fundamental questions about the origin and evolution of the Universe.

As a Laureate Fellow, I aim to use the unique capabilities of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) to conduct the Polarisation Sky Survey of the Universe's Magnetism (POSSUM). POSSUM is based around an effect called "Faraday rotation", in which light from a background object is subtly changed when it passes through a cloud of magnetised gas. By measuring the Faraday rotation in the emission from millions of distant galaxies over 70% of the sky, POSSUM aims to transform our understanding of magnetic fields in galaxies, clusters and in diffuse intergalactic gas, and to thus address key unanswered questions on Milky Way ecology, galaxy evolution and cosmology. The data from POSSUM will provide a substantial legacy to the astronomical community, while the new instrumentation required for this project will test the technology needed for the SKA.

I did my postgraduate work at The University of Sydney and at CSIRO's Australia Telescope National Facility. I subsequently held postdoctoral fellowships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, was an associate professor of astronomy at Harvard University, and then was an ARC Federation Fellow at The University of Sydney.

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