Dr Tara Murphy
The University of Sydney
Research Field: Astroinformatics; radio astronomy
Dr Murphy is leading a major international project – VAST: a survey for Variables and Slow Transients that will run on ASKAP, an Australian next generation radio telescope. One of their aims is to search for the ‘orphan afterglows’ of gamma-ray bursts. Gamma-ray bursts emit high energy radiation right at the moment when a black hole is formed. The challenge is finding these rare objects, amongst the hundreds of thousands of other ‘normal’ objects that the telescope will find each night. Tara has been a director of the National Computer Science School, for high school students since 2004. She is also a founder and director of the NCSS Challenge, an online programming competition that provides high quality educational material and extension activities for high school students. In 2010 the Challenge won a National iAward and an Engineers Australia Award for Excellence. She currently leads a program of workshops in regional schools, as part of the University of Sydney’s Social Inclusion Network, encouraging students from non-traditional backgrounds to attend university.