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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.

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

Australia's naval upgrade may not be enough to keep pace in a fast-changing region

Last year, Professor Roger Bradbury and I questioned whether or not there was an unacceptable risk of the world sleepwalking into war. We cited as reasons to be concerned a lack of strong and principled leadership, the...

U.S. Treasuries suffer on hawkish Fed September policy meeting minutes; FOMC members’ speeches in focus

The U.S. Treasuries lost ground during late afternoon session Thursday after the Federal Reserves September monetary policy meeting minutes remained hawkish ahead of the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index for the month...

UK gilts fall despite lower-than-expected September retail sales data; BoE Governor Carney’s speech in focus

The United Kingdoms gilts fell during Thursdays afternoon session despite a lower-than-expected reading of the countrys retail sales data for the month of September. Market participants will now be looking forward to Bank...

Australia’s September unemployment rate drops to 6-year low, well below RBA’s year-end forecast

Australias strong labour market report for September saw the unemployment rate drop to a six-year low of 5.0 percent, well below the RBAs forecast of 5-1/2 percent for year end. With leading indicators for the labour...

New Zealand bonds fall at close in muted trading session ahead of China’s Q3 GDP data

The New Zealand bonds closed lower Thursday amid a muted trading session that witnessed data of little economic significance as investors remain keen to watch Chinas gross domestic product for the third quarter of this...

Politics

Bringing in backpackers is not the right way to get more workers onto farms

Suddenly, getting workers onto farms is a top political priority. Over the weekend, and again in parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced plans to get more backpackers working on farms. We dont...

How the polls could have caught 'surprise' victories like Trump's

The election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency surprised almost everyone, including apparently Trump himself. On the morning after the 2016 election, my teenage son made snarky comments about the state of polling...

US midterm elections: the dirty tricks used by parties to skew results in their favour

As the US midterm elections approach, its important to understand how the US has undergone a profound intensification in racially polarised partisanship. Race and attitudes about race closely align with party identities...

View from The Hill: How the government's plan to oppose Hanson's motion became a vote to support it

For Mathias Cormann, 2018 has been the annus horribilis. After emerging badly bruised from the leadership crisis, on Tuesday he took responsibility for the disastrous snafu over Pauline Hansons It is OK to be white...

Pik Botha and Namibia: ambiguities and contradictions

Roelof Pik Botha, South Africas foreign minister under apartheid, who has died at the age of 86, was a man of contradictions. He could, for example, be charming. But, though a long-serving diplomat, he was often very...

Science

How scientists are fighting infection-causing biofilms

The surfaces people interact with every day may seem rather mundane, but at the molecular scale, there is more activity than meets the eye. Every surface we touch has its own unique chemical properties. Its because of...

Prime Minister’s Prize for Science 2018 goes to 'Earth-watcher' Kurt Lambeck

Professor Kurt Lambeck has won the 2018 Prime Ministers Prize for Science. The award recognises Lambecks 50-year contribution to Australian and global science through his research watching planet Earth its a specialist...

Fighting frog fungus: Lee Berger wins PM's Life Scientist 2018 award

Lee Berger is the 2018 recipient of the Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, one of the Prime Ministers Prizes for Science announced on October 17. Lees research identified the cause of mysterious and...

Boyer Lectures: gene therapy is still in its infancy but the future looks promising

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the ABCs Boyer Lectures. Delivered by Professor John Rasko, the 2018 Life Engineered lectures explore ethical and other issues around gene therapy and related technologies, and their...

How we can turn the tide for women in science

For the first time in 55 years, a woman has won the Nobel Prize in physics Prof. Donna Strickland. This win has publicly highlighted that women are still under-represented in science, particularly in physics. As a...

Technology

Grocers: Get ready to join the blockchain party

In the wake of this years large E. coli outbreak, Walmart notified its leafy green suppliers that they must be using blockchain technology to trace their products before the end of 2019. Walmart, one of the worlds...

‘Fornite’ News, Update: Elon Musk Trolls Players, Act 2 of Season 6 Coming Up

Fortnite has practically become inescapable these days, with everything from Hollywood stars to athletes getting in on the action. Even politicians know what it is and this speaks to the ubiquity of the Battle Royale title...

‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ Release Date, Latest News: At Least 99GB Needed to Install the Game; Rockstar Under Fire For Alleged Poor Working Conditions

Its finally confirmed. Red Dead Redemption 2 is going to require at least 99 GB of storage space for the PlayStation 4 and 107 GB for the Xbox One. That is if players buy a physical copy of the game. For PlayStation 4...

‘Days Gone’ News, Update: Delayed Again; Running In Fear Of ‘Crackdown’ and ‘Anthem’?

Days Gone has been delayed so many times since its 2016 reveal that zombie video game fans have started losing hope that it is ever going to be released. Until recently, PlayStation 4 owners were hoping that the Feb. 22,...

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ News, Update: Activision Uses Microtransaction For Good, Raises Money For Unemployed Veterans

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 comes with microtransactions, like many of the video games that Activision produces. However, the company is attempting to slightly diminish the negative reputation of in-game economies by...
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October 20 01:30 UTC Released

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