5 mins read 28 Mar 2021

World Science Festival - Brisbane: Hunting the Cosmic Dawn

28 MAR 2021 | 3:00PM
Brisbane and Online

A stellar cast of Nobel Laureates, Professors, and Astrophysicists will be discussing how Australia's first upcoming mega-science project, the Square Kilometre Array, is going to change the way we see astronomy and the Universe forever. 

20-second exposure showing Milky Way above the SKA-Low antennas. Credit: Michael Goh/ICRAR/Curtin.


Why is SKA set to rock the universe?

It took a few hundred million years before the arrival of the Cosmic Dawn when the first stars and galaxies burst into existence. We know it all started with a big bang – but what happened after that? And where are we heading from here?

The nature of the universe has fascinated humans forever. Now 21st-century technology allows astrophysicists to see better, hear more clearly and explore further than ever before, providing clearer insight into astronomical questions.

Join a constellation of astrophysicists and their celestially inclined counterparts as they shine new light into the cosmos to determine what the first stars looked like, the nature of dark energy and the future of the universe.

Hunting the Cosmic Dawn is presented with The University of Queensland.


Nichole Barry

Nichole Barry is an avid researcher at the University of Melbourne in the field of observational cosmology and radio science. She specialises in observations of the early Universe during a time period called the Epoch of Reionisation, which marks the birth of the first stars and galaxies. This exciting time period could reveal clues to the origins of dark matter, dark energy, and even exotic models. Nichole was recently granted a Forrest Fellowship to continue her efforts in uniting the knowledge from Australia, the United States, and the Netherlands in order to measure this elusive time period. She grew up on the west coast of the United States and enjoys experiencing the wild nature of Australia.

Tamara Davis

Astrophysicist Professor Tamara Davis studies the elusive “dark energy” that’s accelerating the universe. She’s measured time-dilation in distant supernovae, helped make one of the largest maps of the galaxies in the universe, and is now measuring how supermassive black holes have grown over the last 12 billion years. Her accolades include the Australian Academy of Science’s Nancy Millis Medal for outstanding female scientific leadership, and an Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to astrophysical science, education, and young astronomers. When not science-ing she’s playing sport, including captaining Australia at World Championships in Ultimate frisbee!

Tamara Davis appears with thanks to Academic Partner The University of Queensland

Brian Schmidt

Professor Brian P. Schmidt was appointed Vice-Chancellor and President of The Australian National University (ANU) in January 2016.

Professor Schmidt is the 12th Vice-Chancellor of The Australian National University (ANU). Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, Professor Schmidt was an astrophysicist at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics before becoming Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Schmidt received undergraduate degrees in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Arizona in 1989 and completed his Astronomy Master’s degree (1992) and PhD (1993) from Harvard University. Under his leadership, in 1998, the High-Z Supernova Search team made the startling discovery that the expansion rate of the Universe is accelerating. Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, The United States Academy of Science, and the Royal Society, he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2013.

Andrea Ghez

Andrea M. Ghez, professor of Physics & Astronomy and Lauren B. Leichtman & Arthur E. Levine chair in Astrophysics, is one of the world’s leading experts in observational astrophysics and heads UCLA’s Galactic Center Group. Best known for her ground-breaking work on the centre of our Galaxy, which has led to the best evidence to date for the existence of supermassive black holes, she has received numerous honours and awards including the Nobel Prize in 2020, she became the fourth woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, sharing one half of the prize with Reinhard Genzel (the other half of the prize being awarded to Roger Penrose).

Her work on the orbits of stars at the centre of the Milky Way has opened a new approach to studying black holes and her group is currently focused on using this approach to understand the physics of gravity near a black hole and the role that black holes play in the formation and evolution of galaxies.

Ghez is also very committed to the communication of science to the general public and inspiring young girls into science. Her work can be found in many public outlets including TED, NOVA’s Monster of the Milky Way, Discovery’s Swallowed by a Black Hole, TED, and Griffith Observatory.

The event will be moderated by Science Journalist and Walkley winner, Carl Smith - who reports for ABC Science and ABC Radio National.


The above content has been written by World Science Festival - Brisbane. The original event can be found on this link.

Getting There

South Brisbane, QLD, Australia

The event is also available to be streamed online.

Both online and in-person tickets are now available