Dr Stanislav Shabala
University of Tasmania
At the heart of every galaxy lurks a huge black hole, more than a million times heavier than the Sun. Dr Shabala uses a combination of computer models and observations with radio telescopes in Australia and around the world to study black holes and the phenomena that surrounds them.
Firstly, active black holes pump out huge amounts of energy, understanding the interaction with their surroundings is key to understanding the origins of all cosmic structures, including our own Milky Way galaxy. Second, because they are such extreme objects, active black holes are great labs for testing the limits of conventional physics. Finally, because they are very bright, active black holes can be seen to huge distances, and are used as cosmic beacons in precision positioning and navigation (including systems such as GPS). Knowledge of black hole physics is required to improve the accuracy of position measurements.
Stanislav has taken an active role in communicating science, presenting over a dozen keynote speeches, school and public talks. He is Project Manager for Radio Galaxy Zoo, a citizen science project that engages members of the public to search for active black holes. He has also represented the Australian astronomy community at the annual Science meets Parliament meeting with Federal MPs, highlighting the importance of STEM subjects to our nation’s future.