Harley Wood Lecture
Prize named for
Harley Wood was Director of Sydney Observatory for over thirty years from 1943 to 1974, during which time the Observatory was engaged in the Astrographic Catalogue, a mammoth international project to photograph the whole sky. His work in the wider context of the Australian and international astronomical community was prolific. He was also heavily involved in the popularisation of astronomy and making astronomy available to everyone. In particular, he was at the forefront of moves to draw Australian astronomers together into a professional organisation and in recognition of this work became the Foundation president of the ASA.
Astronomical Society of Australia's Annual Scientific Meeting
In conjunction with the Annual Scientific Meeting, the ASA sponsors a public lecture in the city where the Scientific Meeting is held. The lecture is named in memory of Dr Harley Wood, the first President of the ASA.
The Harley Wood Lecture was inaugurated in 1984 as an annual lecture in honour of the first President of the Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA).
For more information on the Harley Wood Lecture, visit http://asa.astronomy.org.au/hwl.html.
The 2017 Harley Wood Lecture is awarded to
Associate Professor Tara Murphy is an astrophysicist working at the University of Sydney and an ARC Future Fellow. Her research focuses on detecting and studying transient and highly-variable astrophysical phenomena with next-generation radio telescopes. In particular, she is interested in developing and applying novel computer science techniques to data-intensive research. She leads an international team of researchers searching for variable and transient sources with the Murchison Widefield Array and the Australian SKA Pathfinder telescopes in Western Australia.
Tara is passionate about teaching and high school outreach. In 2012, her work in scientific research and public outreach was recognised by the award of NSW Young Tall Poppy of the Year, and she also received an ALTC Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. In 2014, Tara co-founded a start-up company, Grok Learning, to get high school students around the world excited about computational thinking. She has recently launched a MOOC on Data-driven Astronomy on Coursera.
Extreme Events - Exploring the Transient Universe
Harley Wood Lecture, Wed, 12 Jul, 7:30–8:30 p.m., Questacon
Transient astronomical objects (those that appear and disappear rapidly) signal some of the most extreme events in the Universe: events such as stars dying, the moment a black hole forms, or the collision of two neutron stars. Detecting these rare events pushes our telescopes and analysis techniques to the limit, but the reward is insights into extreme physics that can’t be obtained in any other way. I will discuss how new telescopes are letting us see the sky in new ways and how the way we do science is changing in the era of big data.