UWA astrophysicist awarded Louise Webster Prize.

UWA astrophysicist awarded Louise Webster Prize.

Great news! Congratulations to Dr Adam Stevens on being awarded the Louise Webster Prize in this year’s Astronomical Society of Australia Awards!

The Louise Webster Prize recognises outstanding research by a scientist early in their post-doctoral career. The Prize is awarded based on the scientific impact of a single research paper, which has the applicant as the first author.

A theoretical astrophysicist by trade, Dr Stevens is also the current recipient of the Jim Buckee Fellowship in Astrophysics at The University of Western Australia and works at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR). His research revolves around simulations of the universe, helping us understand how galaxies form and evolve.

Dr Steven’s 2019 paper, which was one of the most cited of the year in physics and astronomy, addresses how the gas in some galaxies is being affected by neighbouring galaxies and reveals what happens when those galaxies begin to interact. Marrying smart simulation codes with powerful supercomputers, Dr Steven was able to predict what radio telescopes might see in the actual sky, with the added benefit of observing the results in extra detail.

“What’s wonderful about a simulation is you can track exactly what happens to a galaxy: you can play back the simulation and it can spit out data,” said Dr Stevens in a media release. “Whereas, when you observe a galaxy, you just see how it is now.”

Dr Steven’s work is crucial for interpreting observations from next-gen, state-of-the-art radio telescopes such as the upcoming Square Kilometre Array, as well as testing our foundational knowledge of how galaxies form.

He’s also a strong advocate for climate-change awareness, responsibility and accountability. Read his article on the surprisingly large carbon footprint of astronomers and how they can be more environmentally friendly.

We’ve had the pleasure of having Dr Stevens as one of our speakers for our HPC Hour event in 2020. Watch his presentation titled “The Imperative for Sustainable Computing for Astronomers (and us all)” below.


By Mitchell Lim

Mitchell Lim is DUG's Scientific Content Architect. With a PhD in Chemical Engineering, Mitch is an expert in the fields of catalysis and ultrasonics. Full-time science geek, part-time fitness junkie, Mitch strives to deliver effective and engaging science communication, as he believes that easily digestible scientific perspectives have the potential to impact and benefit society at large.

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