My research interests lie in radio astronomy, in the areas of star formation, molecular clouds, black holes/active galactic nuclei and magnetic fields in space.
I am currently undertaking a Ph.D research project studying star forming structures in our Galaxy, the Milky Way. Stars form in clouds of gas and dust in space, but the process by which this occurs remains a mystery. I am studying structures within these clouds that may be involved in the process of star formation. I am focussing on a recently discovered type of structure in these clouds, threads of gas and dust upon which the majority of potential 'baby' stars seem to lie. Previous infrared wavelength observations revealed the dust component of these threads, and I am using radio wavelength observations from Australian radio telescopes to reveal the gas component. The radio wavelength data will complement the pre-existing infrared data and provide the missing piece of the puzzle to illuminate the role of these threads of gas and dust in star formation. I am also investigating the role of large scale magnetic fields in space in the formation and stability of these threads, and their contribution to forming stars.
Since we, and everything around us, are made of star dust, we can better understand our own origins by understanding the birth and lifecycle of stars.
I have also undertaken projects investigating:
- the relationships between star formation and black holes.
- the use of organic molecules in space to make a 'chemical clock' to time star formation.
- the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of galaxies.