UQ Summer students take on the big questions in astronomy
The UQ astrophysics group was joined by a large cohort of students during this summer break, all of them eager to give up their holiday and do research. Nine students, some from University of Queensland, others from further afield, all congregated in the VISAC lab for eight weeks, helping the permanent researchers try to unlock the secrets of the universe.
Carolyn Woods, Connor O'Niell and Geoff Bonning (all from UQ) were working with Prof Michael Drinkwater on data from the WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey. They worked on the spectra and the redshifts recorded by WiggleZ, as well as 'test-driving' the WiggleZ database.
Alexander Livingstone and Iulia Popa-Mateiu (both from UQ) were working with Dr Tamara Davis on trying to design the optimal survey for using Active Galactic Nuclei as distance indicators (as part of Dr Davis' research which made the 4th spot in Physics World magazine's top 10 scientific breakthroughs in 2011).
Yaunjian Zheng (from Cornell University), Karl Jensen (from the University of the Sunshine Coast) and Rishank Jain (from the Indian School of Mines) joined UQ local Sarah Hegarty to work with Dr Signe Reimer-Sorensen on using Deuterium Absorption Systems to investigate the physics of the creation of the primordial elements during the Big Bang.
Sam Peet and Sam Trail were both working with Dr David Parkinson, though on very different projects. While Sam Peet looked at the effect massive neutrinos have on the large-scale structure of galaxies, Sam Trail investigated the possibility was stronger or weaker in the past than today.
Having so many bright and enthusiastic students around has been a real blessing for the group. We certainly hope that some of them will be back again, either for another summer project or perhaps to study for Honours. These students are the next generation of astronomy researchers, and we expect great things from them.