Professor and Associate Dean (Research), UNSW

I'm a Discovery Outstanding Researcher at the University of New South Wales, where I head the Exoplanetary Science at UNSW group within the School of Physics. I am also currently Associate Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Science.

I grew up in the south-western suburbs of Sydney, attending St Patrick's College, Strathfield before doing a Science degree in Physics at the University of Sydney. In 1987 I moved to Pasadena, CA to do a PhD in astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, where I worked on hunting for brown dwarfs.

In 1992, I moved countries again to take up a Fellowship at the European Southern Observatory Headquarters in Garching, Germany. I continued working on brown dwarfs and CCD astrometry there (and have done so to this day).

In 1994, I moved back to Australia as a Research Astronomer at the Anglo-Australian Observatory. I stayed on at the AAO for just over 12 years - for the first half of it as an AAO support astronomer, and for the last half of it as Head of Astronomy (and so managed the support astronomers). While at the AAO I got progressively more and more involved in exoplanetary research, and that has become the largest focus of my work today.

Our Explanatory Science at UNSW explores just about every aspect of the detection and study of exoplanets, including discovering them via the reflex velocities they impose on their host stars, following up their discovery by transit searches, exploring their orbital alignment with their star's spin, doing direct imaging searches, and studying free-floating "Y-class" brown dwarfs which share many properties with gas-giant planets.

Experience

  • 2013–present
    Discovery Outstanding Researcher, University of NSW
  • 2007–2012
    Australian Professorial Fellow, University of NSW
  • 2001–2007
    Head of Astronomy, Anglo-Australian Observatory

Education

  • 1992 
    California Institute of Technology, PhD in Astronomy
  • 1987 
    University of Sydney, BSc (Hons) in Physics

Research Areas

  • Stellar Astronomy And Planetary Systems (020110)
  • Astrobiology (020101)
  • Astronomical And Space Sciences (0201)