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Michael J. I. Brown

Michael J. I. Brown

Associate professor, Monash University
I am an observational astronomer, studying how galaxies evolve over billions of years.

I was born and raised in Melbourne’s southeastern suburbs. My interest in astronomy began as a child, when the Voyager spacecraft visited the outer planets. I undertook my undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Melbourne during the 1990s. For my PhD, I used (now antiquated) photographic plates to identify thousands of galaxies and measure their distribution in space.

In 2000 I joined the staff of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, and started working on surveys of the distant Universe with large ground-based telescopes and satellites. In 2004 I was awarded Princeton University’s Henry Norris Russell Fellowship, and studied the growth of the most massive galaxies. Using thousands of galaxies in the constellation of Bootes, I found that the most massive galaxies have grown slowly over the past seven billion years, which is almost certainly due to mergers of galaxies.

Since 2007 I have been at Monash University’s School of Physics and Astronomy. I am measuring spectra of galaxies across the electromagnetic spectrum, which is useful for measuring the distances to galaxies, the luminosities of galaxies and how rapidly galaxies form stars. I am also using large astronomical surveys to measure how rapidly galaxies are growing, and how this growth compares to the growth of dark matter halos.

When you look up, how far back in time do you see?

Dec 27, 2018 23:58 pm UTC| Science

Our senses are stuck in the past. Theres a flash of lightning, and then seconds pass until we hear the rumble of distant thunder. We hear the past. We are seeing into the past too. While sound travels about a...

Looking at the universe through very different 'eyes'

Jan 22, 2018 11:39 am UTC| Insights & Views Science

We are bathed in starlight. During the day we see the Sun, light reflected off the surface of the Earth and blue sunlight scattered by the air. At night we see the stars, as well as sunlight reflected off the Moon and the...

Space Science Series

We can learn a lot from the changing night sky

Jan 07, 2017 01:10 am UTC| Science

You cannot feel or hear the world turning. It does not rumble through space. But you can see it turn with your own eyes every day and night. And, with patience, you can see Earth travel around the Sun. As the globe...

How to quickly spot dodgy science

Jan 04, 2017 05:00 am UTC| Science

I havent got time for science, or at least not all of it. I cannot read 19,000 astrophysics papers every year. No way. And I have little patience for bad science, which gets more media attention than it deserves. Even...

Trump has embraced pseudoscience and its deceptive tactics in a post-truth world

Dec 12, 2016 09:30 am UTC| Science Politics

As a scientist, I expect the Trump presidency to have a curious familiarity. Why? Because the relentless stream of falsehoods and character attacks of Trumps campaign mainstreamed disinformation tactics that biologists,...

Space Science Series

Less secrecy could help astronomy stop the bullying and harassment within its ranks

Nov 23, 2016 03:00 am UTC| Insights & Views Science

Shocking allegations of bullying, harassment and sexual assault at CSIROs Astronomy and Space Sciences (CASS) division were revealed on Sunday by the ABCs Background Briefing program. In CASS alone, the Radio National...

UFOs, climate change and missing airliners: how to separate fact from fiction

Jun 20, 2016 06:47 am UTC| Insights & Views

If youve been on social media then perhaps youve seen the Ancient Aliens meme; a wild-haired alien aficionado Giorgio A. Tsoukalos attributing all manner of things to aliens. Giorgio A. Tsoukalos is a well known...

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Economy

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Science

NASA revelation: Mysterious set of footprints found on lunar surface outside of Apollo missions

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NASA news: Expert warns of China's increasing dominance in future space exploration

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Climate change discovery: Changing global temperatures may have been the cause of human extinction in the past

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Technology

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Xbox Game Pass hints at ‘Rainbow Six Siege’ arriving on the streaming service

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