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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

Global Geopolitical Series: U.S. Commerce department initiates AD/CVD investigation on imports of Rubber Bands from China, Sri Lanka and Thailand

Last night, the U.S. Commerce Department announced the initiation of an investigation into imports of Rubber Bands from China, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The investigations were initiated based on a petition filed by...

New Zealand Q4 retail sales rise above market expectations; consumption growth to moderate as households rebuild saving

New Zealands retail sales volumes were stronger than expected in Q4, with retail discounting, especially across big-ticket items continuing to have a key influence. Retail sales volumes rose solidly (beating market...

New Zealand bonds gain at close despite higher-than-expected Q4 retail sales

New Zealand government bonds gained at the time of closing Friday after the countrys retail sales for the fourth quarter of this year came in higher than market expectations. Further, dairy product prices also declined at...

JGBs edge higher on BoJ’s daily market operation; firm U.S. Treasuries support

Japanese government bonds gainedon Fridayafter the Bank of Japan (BoJ) conducted a regular open market operation. Also, the firmness in the U.S. Treasuries supported the bond prices. The yield on the benchmark 10-year...

Australian bonds jump tracking U.S. Treasuries, offsets prior anxiety post Fed’s meeting minutes

Australian bonds jumped during early Asian session on the last trading day of the week, tracking similar movement in the U.S. Treasuries, offsetting prior anxiety raised that came after Federal Reserve minutes signaled...

Politics

Hunger in the lucky country – charities step in where government fails

The non-profit organisation Foodbank released its report Fighting Hunger in Australia this month. Like earlier research it reported that around 15% of Australians experienced food insecurity an extraordinary figure...

For black celebrities like Oprah, it's impossible to be apolitical

Oprah Winfreys rousing Golden Globe speech has many speculating whether the media mogul will become a presidential candidate in 2020, with some pundits questioning the merits of another celebrity president. But to...

Politicians are inflating the evidence used to justify tax increases

Chris Doucouliagos, Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Deakin Business School and Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University Many government policies are flawed because...

GOP tax plan doubles down on policies that are crushing the middle class

The U.S. middle class has always had a special mystique. It is the heart of the American dream. A decent income and home, doing better than ones parents, and retiring in comfort are all hallmarks of a middle-class...

What does Ramaphosa's victory mean for South Africa's economy?

A great deal is expected from Cyril Ramaphosa who was elected as the president of South Africas governing party, the African National Congress (ANC). This positions him to become the countrys president in 2019. Sibonelo...

Science

UBI Helps People Be More Productive And Work More, Study Claims

The topic of universal basic income (UBI) has been a hot-button issue among economists, financial experts, legislators, and tech industry giants for years. Some say that it will increase productivity while others claim the...

Startup Raises $250M To Use Placenta To Extend Life And Cure Cancer

Companies have been trying to unlock the secrets to regenerative medicine for years and one startup just raised $250 million by intending to use human placenta to do so. The company believes that using the disposable...

Perfumes, Cologne And Other Chemicals Contribute To Air Pollution As Much As Cars

Environmentalists often blame cars for being the biggest contributors to air pollution thanks to the smog coming out of them. However, recent data shows that aerosol chemicals are also huge contributors to making the...

Potential Tests For Autism Using Blood And Urine Developed

Autism remains one of the biggest mysteries in the medical industry right now, with the root cause still being unidentified. Whats worse is that early detection of the illness has been rather unreliable. This may soon...

Ozone Layer Update; Not Recovering As Expected For Unknown Reasons

In the late 90s, the issue regarding the hole in the ozone layer was big in the public consciousness, but it quickly faded in light of a new gigantic threat in the form of climate change. In recent years, scientists have...

Technology

Google Sued By Former Employee Who Was Fired For Supposedly Criticizing Anti-Diversity Memo

As it turns out, Google really is a big believer in fair treatment of employees. Last year, it fired engineer James Damore for sending out a memo suggesting that perhaps diversity is not the way to go, at least in its...

UN Chief Wants A Geneva Convention For Cyber Warfare

Over the decades, member countries of the UN have agreed to certain stipulations related to the matter of war. Basically, certain practices are to be banned and there are rules to be observed, particularly with regards to...

More Signs Of Spotify’s Hardware Ambitions Crop Up

While Spotify did build its business as a software entity, signs that it plans on selling hardware have become more and more apparent. Now, several job descriptions posted by the company are adding a tank of fuel on this...

Doom Gets Motion Control On The Switch, Follows Splatoon Formula

Motion controls have always been a tricky subject in the video game industry. So far, Nintendo has been the reigning king in this arena, what with its excellent Wii hardware. With the Switch, the company has taken things...

Amazon Uses Cashback To Increase Whole Foods Shopping By Prime Members

When it was announced that Amazon was buying Whole Foods, many wondered what changes the merchant giant would implement. As it turns out, not that much, at least for now. One of Amazons more major moves with regards to the...
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February 24 01:30 UTC Released

CNChina House Prices YY

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5 %

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5.3 %

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104 %

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101 %

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January 22 19:00 UTC 4828148281m

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January 31 00:00 UTC 3646136461m

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