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The science team

Meet some of the research scientists involved with Galaxy Explorer.


Professor Simon Driver

Head of the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) Survey
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
Professor Simon Driver has been studying the galaxy population and its evolution for over 20 years with a particular focus on the evolution of galaxy sizes, structural components, and their energy outputs. During his career he has led research groups in the UK, US, and Australia working with some of the largest galaxy surveys even constructed and including data from the leading astronomical facilities such as the Hubble Space Telescope. More recently has held a number of positions as Director of St Andrews Observatory, a Chair of Physics at the University of St Andrews, and is currently a Research Professorship within the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) at the University of Western Australia. Professor Driver has published over 200 articles in refereed journals massing over 16,000 citations.


Dr Luke Davies

International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)
Luke Davies is a John Stocker Fellow at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) based at the University of the Western Australia. He is an active member of the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey and project scientist for the Wide Area VISTA Extragalactic Survey – Deep (WAVES-deep). His research is concerned with how galaxies change and evolve over the history of the Universe and is primarily focused on the rate at which galaxies form new stars. Most recently he has looked into the affects of galaxy collisions on the formation of new stars, and what happens to galaxies of different masses when they smash together. He did his PhD and first research position at the University of Bristol in the UK, where he investigated the properties of the very first galaxies in the Universe. Learn more here: 



Dr Aaron Robotham

International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research 
Aaron Robotham did his PhD at the University of Bristol between 2005-2008. This involved analysing the contents of groups of galaxies discovered in the Australian led 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey. He subsequently moved to St Andrews in the UK and began working on the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey, which had a large amount of observing time on the Anglo-Australian Telescope in NSW. Using this data Aaron constructed common groups of galaxies, and used this information to infer the dark matter contents of the local Universe.

In order to continue working on GAMA, and to move nearer to collaborators, Aaron moved to ICRAR/UWA in Perth in 2011. Initially this was only meant to be a short trip, but he has stayed there ever since. He continues to be involved in GAMA, and is also now working closely with Australian radio astronomers and simulators who model the Universe in order to understand what we see.

Aaron Robotham


Pete Wheeler

International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)
Pete is the Outreach, Education and Communications Manager for the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), a joint venture of Curtin University and The University of Western Australia.  Originally from South Wales in the UK, Pete studied Physics at Leeds University before becoming a Test Engineer for a London based company. In 2003 he immigrated to Western Australia and became a science communicator with Scitech, Perth’s Science Discovery Centre.   After a series of roles developing educational resources for WA teachers, managing the largest planetarium in the southern hemisphere and coordinating large scale outreach and education initiatives, Pete defines himself as a professional science communicator with a passion for new and innovative ways of engaging people in science.



Kirsten Gottschalk

International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR))
Kirsten wanted to be an astronomer from her earliest memory, but soon realised she much preferred talking about it than doing it. After some study in Astrophysics and Science Communication, she found her way to the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Perth. She now gets to meet astronauts, talk about the world’s biggest telescope (the Square Kilometre Array), build telescopes in the desert and show off the gorgeous West Australian night sky to anyone that comes near. Part of her job is helping develop opportunities for everyone to get involved in astronomy, like Galaxy Explorer, and ICRAR’s other citizen science project theSkyNet.

Kirsten Gottschalk