Dr Brad Tucker
Australian National University
Everything we’ve studied on Earth only makes up a very small part (4%) of our Universe. At the same time, the growth of our Universe has changed over time – going from slowing down to speeding up.
Dark Energy, which makes up about 70% of the Universe, is causing this speeding up, but the Universe won’t be able to keep this up. Dr Tucker is trying to figure out what this Dark Energy is, how has it caused the Universe to grow, and what is its effect on the Universe. He has been using the Kepler and Hubble Space telescopes to improve both the measurements of the acceleration of the Universe and the local speed of the Universe by refining the tools usd – supernova, or exploding stars.
Brad runs the outreach program at Mt. Stromlo Observatory and has increased both the amount of programs offered and numbers of people reached. The program hosts about 30 schools per year for stargazing and also hosts 12 students per year for week-long work-experience placements. He also started the Mt. Stromlo Public Astronomy Nights that run monthly over the winter, with an average 1500 people attending per night. Brad also organised the nationwide event to set the World Record for Most People Stargazing in a Country, in August this year.