Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics


Five students submitted theses over the past year.

Alister Graham (19 December 97): "Structural Parameterisation of Elliptical Galaxies". Alister is now a postdoc at the IAC, Tenerife.

Frank de Ruyter (MSc) (19 January): "IRAS Galaxies Behind the Milky Way".

Sungeun Kim (8 May): "A Multi-wavelength Study of the Large Magellanic Cloud". Sungeun is now a postdoc at University of Illinois.

Martin Bureau (12 July): "The Vertical Structure of Bars in Spiral Galaxies".

Martin is now a postdoc at the University of Leiden.

Mark Allen (15 October): "A Multi-wavelength Study of the Seyfert Phenomenon". Mark is now a postdoc at Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore.

Dr Alister Graham and Dr Ben Stappers graduated on 2 October. Dr Claudia McCain graduated in absentia on 12 December 1997, and Mr Frank de Ruyter graduated in absentia on 1 June.

The Graduate program welcomed Greg Wilson this year. Greg Wilson is an outstanding student from ANU, with Honours I in Mathematics. He was a Summer Research Scholar at Mount Stromlo in 1996/97. He is our Duffield Scholar for 1998. There are currently 12 students on course in the program, but this number will be buoyed by 6 new arrivals in 1999. On a particularly sad note, student Daya Rawson passed away on November 29.

RSAA and SMS staff give a series of lectures on core astrophysics subjects each year. Most of these courses also double as third and fourth year undergraduate courses in mathematics and physics. Our graduate students must take these courses, if they have not already done them as ANU undergraduates. RSAA staff also give undergraduate astrophysics courses at first year to fourth year level in the Mathematics and Physics departments.

The Alex Rodgers Travelling Scholarship

Funds for this scholarship come from a gift to the ANU's Endowment for Excellence by Mrs Ruth Rodgers, in memory of her husband the late Professor Rodgers, Director of MSSSO from 1987-92. The scholarship is to assist a student in the Graduate Program in Astronomy and Astrophysics to travel abroad to attend scientific meetings and/or to work with astronomers at another institution on some chosen research project of direct relevance to the thesis work being undertaken. The guidelines and conditions of award are currently before the University Awards Committee, and it is expected that the first round of applications will be called in March 1999.

Annual Report 1998

Mrs Ruth Rodgers with Prof. R.D. Terrell, Vice-Chancellor

Monash Collaboration

The educational collaboration between the Mathematics Department at Monash University and Mount Stromlo Observatory continued this year. As before, a group of students from Monash visit for lectures and observational experience on the 74-inch telescope. The data reduction tasks were supervised by Gary Da Costa, Charlene Heisler and Brian Schmidt.

The Harley Wood School of Astronomy and the ASA Annual Meeting

The Harley Wood School and the annual scientific meeting of the Astronomical Society of Australia were held in Adelaide this year, in early July. These are important occasions for our students, and each year we send as many as we possibly can. It gives the students the opportunity to meet with graduate students and astronomers from other universities, and to take part in a focussed series of graduate-level lectures.

Summer Research Scholar Program

Another successful Summer Research Scholarship program was run during the 1997-98 summer vacation, again convened by Dr Gary Da Costa. Seven undergraduates from Australian universities participated for about 8 weeks working on projects supervised by MSO staff. Also included in the program were a series of lectures and a tour of the major observatory sites in NSW. The 1998-99 Summer Research Scholar program has commenced, convened by Dr Charlene Heisler. Eight scholars, pictured below, seven from Australian universities and one from New Zealand took part.

Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics

1998 Summer Research Scholars, from left to right: Brent Groves, Jennifer McSaveney, Minh Huynh, Dougal Mackey, Alex Ridgewell, Catherine Drake, Rachel Deacon, Tamara Davis.


Special emphasis was placed this year on recruiting graduate and honours students. Visits were made to specific Universities, and emphasis was placed on getting students to submit an application to graduate school via multiple contacts. Potential graduate students were promised (and given) individual visits to the Observatory after they had submitted an application, and this process yielded 9 applications, and 6 students (up from 4 applications and one acceptance last year). The Honours program also emphasised personal contact, and advertised projects on the Web through the Physics program. This new approach yielded 5 very good students (up from 1 last year). We plan to continue the approach to recruitment given its great success in its first year.

1998 Board of Studies

The 1998 membership of the Board of Studies is shown below. The Board met formally once this year, and conducted other business via email.

Membership of the Board of Studies comprises:

Ex officio members: Convenor, Graduate Program in Astronomy & Astrophysics: Ken Freeman; Director, RSAA: Jeremy Mould; Convenor, RSAA Summer Research Scholar Program: Charlene Heisler.

Staff members: Lilia Ferrario; Paul Francis; Brian Schmidt.

Student members: Michelle Buxton; Lisa Kewley; Roberto Soria.