Associate Investigator Dr Tara Murphy is NSW Young Tall Poppy

Our Associate Investigator Dr Tara Murphy at the University of Sydney was one of nine recipients of the annual New South Wales Young Tall Poppy Science awards and was further named as overall NSW Young Tall Poppy of the Year for 2012. The Young Tall Poppy Science Awards of the Australian Institute of Policy and Science recognise the achievements of outstanding young scientists, combined with a capacity to communicate science to the broader community. The award ceremony took place on 25 October 2012 in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum and sponsors – the University of Newcastle, the University of NSW, and the University of Sydney.

Dr Tara Murphy is leading a major international project - VAST: a survey for Variables and Slow Transients that will run on ASKAP, an Australian next generation radio telescope. One of their aims is to search for the 'orphan afterglows' of gamma-ray bursts. Gamma-ray bursts emit high energy radiation right at the moment when a black hole is formed. The challenge is finding these rare objects, among the hundreds of thousands of other 'normal' objects that the telescope will find each night.

Tara has been a director of the National Computer Science School for high school students since 2004. She is also a founder and director of the NCSS Challenge, an online programming competition that provides high quality educational material and extension activities for high school students. In 2012, the Challende won a National iAward and an Engineers Australia Award for Excellence. She currently leads a program of workshops in regional schools, as part of the University of Sydney's Social Inclusion Network, encouraging students from non-traditional backgrounds to attend university.

[University of Sydney press release]

Congratulations Tara!