Middle Ages Galaxy Properties

Project ID: tbc

Supervisor(s): Caroline Foster

As a key leader of the Middle Ages Galaxy Properties with Integral field spectroscopy (MAGPI) survey, my team’s research focuses on the dynamical evolution of galaxies in the last ~8-10 billion years by combining 3D spectroscopy data at intermediate redshift (z~0.3, corresponding to ~4 billion years ago) from the MAGPI survey with their local 3D survey counterparts (z~0, ~today), using single point spectroscopic surveys such as GAMA and DEVILS to meaningfully link the 2 epochs and using the MAGPI suite of state-of-the-art galaxy simulation mock galaxy observations, we aim to reveal the physical mechanisms responsible for the dynamical transformation of galaxies.

I am looking for keen students at all levels (undergraduates to PhD) to join my group and help unravel galaxy transformation. I have a pre-defined PhD project as part of my Future Fellowship for which I am looking for someone interested in working with both simulations and observations. If you have a great PhD idea or would like to brainstorm other MAGPI-related opportunities for a PhD project, please contact me.

My mentoring and supervising style is student-led. I guide students to develop the ability to independently direct and take ownership of their own learning. Developing the necessary skills to learn independently is an important aspect of university training. The ability to learn even when a path has not yet been forged is a highly sought-after and transferrable skill in innovation-driven fields. As such, I encourage my students to formulate questions, look for answers and critically evaluate those answers.

Other skills that students are expected to develop as part of doing research in my group are:

  • Programming skills;
  • Analysis and handling of 3D spectroscopy and data cubes; and
  • Broad understanding of the field of galaxy formation and evolution and how their project fits into the bigger picture.

PhD candidates will have collaborative opportunities with national and international collaborators, travel opportunities, a generous stipend and additional research support opportunities as part of my ARC grants. My students will be encouraged to join, participate and access opportunities from the ASTRO3D Centre of Excellence.

Feedback on past students’ experience:

“Thank you for taking me on board, guiding me through the basics, finer details, and politics of extragalactic astrophysics, and for your support and encouragement every step of the way. You have certainly set the bar very high for when I look for a thesis supervisor.” (summer intern)

“I really enjoyed the project – this has been my favourite subject at uni so far! I liked reading and learning about other people’s research; I enjoyed developing my programming skills; I liked thinking about the significance of the plots I had constructed and the results I had obtained.” (undergraduate project student)

“I loved that at no point did you ‘spoon feed’ the students, but rather point them towards relevant literature and allow them to lead the conversation with specific questions. I think [student] benefited most from this as it required [them] to be proactive and take greater responsibility for the development of [their] project. A great collaborative approach to mentorship.” (High school students’ teacher)"

Main profile image description

Unit Telescope 4 (Yepun) of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) sends four laser beams up to the sky above the Paranal observatory. The lasers create an artificial guide star as part of the VLT’s Adaptive Optics system, state-of-the-art technology that corrects the blurring effects of the Earth’s atmosphere to create sharper images of astronomical objects.

Photo credit: Sangku Kim/ESO

Project supporter: MAGPI