The Universe in a Nutshell: stars, galaxies, black holes & more

6:30pm Thursday 23 July 2015

Room 49-200, Advanced Engineering Building, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD


This fast paced and interactive public lecture will comprise four explosive 8 minute presentations by world renowned astronomers followed by a short tea break so the audience can submit questions and then a 45 minute panel Q&A with the international astrophysicists.  

The panel will answer all your astronomy and space-themed questions!

In addtion during the tea break the astronomers will circulate with the audience to answers questions and speak with the audience. 

Participants (left to right): Amanda Bauer, Tamara Davis and Lisa Harvey-Smith, Meg Urry

      Meg Urry
Photo credits: Tamara Davis: CAASTRO, Lisa Harvey-Smith: Philip Gostelow, Meg Urry: James Porto

Dr Amanda Bauer is a Research Astronomer and Outreach Officer for the Australian Astronomical Observatory and recently named one of Australia's "Top 5 Under 40” science researchers and communicators. Amanda uses earth-based and orbiting space telescopes to explore variations in how galaxies formed, how they lived their lives, and how they evolved into the diverse array of galaxy species we see today.  You can find her online @astropixie and at

Professor Tamara Davis is a prize-winning astrophysicist who observes the natural experiments the universe routinely performs in order to learn more about the physics of the world we live in.  With the universe as her laboratory, she has measured time dilation in distant supernovae, seen sound waves imprinted in the patterns of galaxies, and tested the nature of gravity, space time, and our fundamental laws of physics.  

Dr. Lisa Harvey-Smith is an astronomer at the CSIRO in Sydney. She studies the birth and death of stars in our Galaxy using some of the world’s largest radio telescopes. Harvey-Smith is the Project Scientist for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), CSIRO’s precursor to the world’s largest radio telescope. The ASKAP telescope, comprising 36 large metal dishes that collect radio waves and make radio ‘pictures' of the night sky, is currently under construction in the Western Australian desert. Lisa is leading the early science project, which is due to start in 2016. She also leads a team of scientists who support the operation of CSIRO’s four national facility telescopes. Harvey-Smith is an accomplished science communicator and has given over 60 public lectures and promoted science via TV, radio and newspapers. She regularly speaks in schools and is involved in a mentoring program for young indigenous people in WA.

Professor Meg Urry is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University and current President of the American Astronomical Society. Her scientific research focuses on active galaxies, and she designed the GOODS multiwavelength survey, which used the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and leading ground-based telescopes, to study the growth of supermassive black holes. Her team discovered that most black hole growth occurs in heavily shrouded environments, hidden from earlier UV-sensitive searches, roughly quadrupling the number of active black holes. She writes about black holes and other topics for