Speaker Profiles

Ms Jessica Bloom

Jessica is an astrophysics PhD student at Sydney University - studying galaxy mergers and their impact on galaxy evolution, Jessica is particularly interested in physics outreach.

Teaching first and second year Physics at the University, over the past two years Jessica has spent four weeks as Astronomer in Residence at Uluru, leading star tours and giving talks. When she is not talking physics and the universe or writing her thesis, Jessica is a circus performer - a contortionist, hooper, acrobat and fire spinner - freelancing at nightclubs, parties and festivals.

Dr Duane Hamacher

Duane is a Senior ARC DECRA Fellow at the Monash Indigenous Centre in Melbourne. He leads the Indigenous Scientific Knowledge focus area in Monash's Faculty of Arts, where his research team explores Indigenous astronomical and geological knowledge. Duane is Secretary of the International Society of Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture, chair of the IAU Working Group on Intangible Heritage, and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage.

Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith

Lisa is a Research Astronomer at CSIRO's Astronomy and Space Science division. She is the Project Scientist for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) and acting Team Leader for ATNF Science Operations Support. Lisa’s research tackles a range of topics including astrophysical masers, massive star formation, planetary nebulae, the origin and evolution of cosmic magnetism and supernova remnants.
Lisa is an acclaimed science writer and speaker. Her latest article on the SKA was published in Patrick Moore's Yearbook of Astronomy 2016. Lisa frequently promotes the work of CSIRO and the SKA project in the national and international media and via talks to schools, colleges, industry groups and amateur astronomers. Last year, she opened "An Evening with Neil DeGrasse Tyson" at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion and featured in two live stage shows with Buzz Aldrin.

Dr Christene Lynch

Christene is a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Sydney, whose research focuses on using radio telescopes, like Australia’s Murchison Widefield Array, to search for energetic flares from the lowest mass stars. These stars are thought to be the most likely to host habitable planets and observations of bright stellar radio flares give insight into what types of environments these planets might encounter. She also uses radio telescopes to search for emission from planets outside our Solar System that have stable magnetic structures like that found on the Earth and Jupiter. 

Dr Cormac Purcell

Cormac was bitten by the astronomy bug after glimpsing Halley's Comet as a youngster. He started observing on home-built optical telescopes from chilly Ireland, eventually moving to longer wavelengths and sunnier climes as a professional astronomer. He specialises in using radio telescopes to investigate magnetism, chemistry and star-formation in our own Milky Way galaxy.

Associate Professor Tara Murphy

Tara works primarily in radio astronomy. Her main research interests are in radio transients and variables. In particular she is leading the radio transients project on ASKAP, and is part of the MWA transients collaboration. These surveys are designed to detect astronomical objects that vary on (relatively) rapid timescales, from things in our local neighbourhood such exoplanets and ultracool dwarfs to distant supernovae and gamma-ray bursts.

Dr Brad Tucker

Brad Tucker is an Astrophysicist/Cosmologist, at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mt. Stromlo Observatory at the Australian National University. He is currently trying to discover the true nature of dark energy, the mysterious substance causing the accelerating expansion of the Universe.  He is the lead of the Kepler Extra-Galactic Survey, which uses the Kepler Space Telescope to understand why and how stars blow up and the search to discover Planet 9 - a proposed new planet in our Solar System. 
Brad frequently gives talks to school groups and the public about Astronomy and has regular segments on radio, including Triple M and TV stations, such as channel 7’s Sunrise and Morning Show, and ABC’s 7:30 Report.  Brad has also developed a series of Astronomy coins with the Australian Mint and consulted on science fiction movies such as Alien:Covenant.  He is currently in the process of writing his first popular-level science book and developing a series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)s.