CSIRO is not a University, so my students are enrolled at a University, and co-supervised by a University supervisor and me. In some cases this is a true collaboration involving the student and both supervisors, and in some cases the University supervisor's role is simply to ensure that the student is making good progress, and to act as a link to the University.
If I am your co-supervisor, then you will normally be eligible for a "CASS graduate student research scholarship" which gives you
For details of CASS scholarships, see http://www.atnf.csiro.au/research/graduate/scholars.html
You need to have a first-class honours degree or equivalent to have a good chance of funding, although funding is sometimes available for people with a 2.1
If you are an Australian student, you should apply for funding though your chosen University, or, if you haven't yet chosen a University for your funding, talk to me for suggestions.
If you are enrolled for a PhD at a non-Australian University, then, if your University supervisor agrees, co-supervision is encouraged if you are interested in the projects listed here.
If you are currently overseas, have a first-class honours degree, and would like to come to Australia to do your PhD, there are a few options for funding. In each case, applications must be submitted through the University, so the first step is to decide on a University and University co-supervisor.
There is also the possibility of a joint (co-tutelle) PhD between your home (non-Australian) University and an Australian University, provided that the two Universities already have a co-tutelle agreement in place. In this cases you are jointly funded and supervised by the two Universities, and spend part of your time in each University.
The suggested PhD projects below are within the ATLAS and EMU projects. Feel free to suggest a project not listed here if it falls in the same general area.
EMU is a large project that will use the new ASKAP telescope, starting in 2013, to make a census of radio sources in the sky. Most of these radio sources will be galaxies millions of light years away, many containing massive black holes, and some of the signals we detect will have been sent less than half a billion years after the Big Bang, which created the Universe 13.7 billion years ago. The reason for doing this is to try to understand how the stars and galaxies were first formed, and how they evolved to their present state, where planets and people are formed. The idea of doing this census is so that we can catch galaxies in all their different stages of evolution, and try to place them in sequence, and so study how their properties change as they evolve. See askap.pbworks.com for more general information, and http://arxiv.org/abs/1106.3219 for a detailed project description.
ATLAS (Australia Telescope Large Area Survey) is a pre-cursor to EMU, and uses a combination of radio, infrared, and optical observations to understand the formation and evolution of galaxies in the early Universe. Over the last few years we have used the Australia Telescope Compact Array to observe the Chandra Deep Field South (CDFS) and European Large Area ISO Survey - South 1 (ELAIS-S1) regions, with the aim of producing the widest (6 square degrees) deep (10-15 μJy rms) radio survey ever attempted. The survey areas were chosen to cover the Southern SWIRE fields, which have deep optical, near-infrared, and far-infrared (and in some parts of the field, deep X-ray) data, so that this combined SWIRE/ATLAS survey may be the most comprehensive multi-wavelength survey yet attempted. The radio observations are important because they penetrate the heavy dust extinction which is found in the most active galaxies at all redshifts, and are particularly effective at detecting AGN buried within dusty galaxies. See http://www.atnf.csiro.au/research/deep/index.html for more information. EMU will have a similar sensitivity and resolution to ATLAS, so, as well as the original astrophysical goals, ATLAS has become a test bed for EMU.
Goal: Measure cosmic star formation rates as a function of redshift. This will enable you to understand how cosmic star formation changes as a function of galaxy mass over the redshift range 0-1, and so help understand the process of galaxy evolution of the second half of the lifetime of the Universe.
Details: Use the new ATLAS data (DR3) to measure radio luminosity as an extinction-independent measure of global star formation over cosmic time. Separate AGN from SF galaxies using several indicators, and use spec-z and photo-z to plot the Madau diagram for different mass ranges of galaxy. This should result in several key papers, and prepare the way for even larger studies with EMU.
Goal: Measure source counts and luminosity functions for AGN (Active Galactic Nuclei = Galaxies containing massive black holes) using the ATLAS DR3 data. This will be the first time that anybody has been able to do this on a complete sample of this size reaching down to low-luminosity AGN, and will enable you to see how black hole activity has changed over cosmic time, and explore how it influences galaxy evolution and regulates star formation.
Details: Use the new ATLAS data (DR3) to separate AGN from SF galaxies using several indicators, and use spec-z to measure RLF for different types of galaxy (e.g. FRI, FRII, CSS/GPS, WAT, etc) in different z bins, and compare with SF rates from IR data. This should result in several key papers, and prepare the way for even larger studies with EMU.
Goal: We expect EMU to be able to make fundamental advances in measuring the parameters of Dark Energy, which may pin down its cause, and also look for deviations from standard general relativity. This PhD project will be to model these measurements in detail, before EMU makes the measurement, and then, depending on timescale, participate in the actual measurement. See http://arxiv.org/abs/1106.3219 for an overview of EMU, including this project.
Details: Starting with the modelling by Raccanelli et al. (http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/1108.0930v1 ), this project will model the EMU measurements in detail, understanding the assumptions and effects that could bias the answer. Where possible, existing data, such as ATLAS and COSMOS, will be used to constrain the modelling. The project will result in papers that will define the next generation of cosmological measurements by large radio surveys such as EMU, and will pave the way for the measurement itself, which will occur towards the end of the PhD project. This will position the PhD student to be in an excellent position to apply for postdoc positions to use radio surveys to define Dark Energy and modified Gravity.
Projects can take a number of forms, depending on your location and circumstances. Note that field trips or ethnographic studies other than those shown are difficult because of the need to obtain ethics clearance and appropriate permissions. However, if you would like to suggest an alternative project, email me and we can discuss it. Each of these projects involves real research, and should result in a paper, or co-authorship on a paper, to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. See http://www.emudreaming.com and http://aboriginalastronomy.blogspot.com/ for more background on Aboriginal Astronomy.
Only in the last 7 years has there been a systematic study of Aboriginal Astronomy. Before then, many individual researchers made valuable contributions to the literature, but most such contributions are thinly scattered through the literature, and many have been effectively lost. This project is to track down and document those contributions, and enter them in a publically accessible database. This project will involve a process of sleuthing and following up promising leads. The students will focus on one particular aspect (e.g. aurorae, planets, etc) and will write a review article on that aspect of Aboriginal Astronomy.
Survey a subset of the Sydney Aboriginal Rock Engravings to determine their orientations and whether they may have an astronomical connection. For example, do Emu engravings predominantly face the South, where the Emu in the sky is upright? The project will involve some fieldwork visiting the rock engravings, which can be found from the Royal National Park (south of Sydney) up to the Hawkesbury River (north of Sydney), and as far west as the Blue Mountains. But you may choose to focus on those in your neighbourhood. Extensive guidance will be given in the early stages of the project.
Gather astronomical stories from senior members of your community, and compile them into a report of the astronomical heritage of your community, in the context of previous studies of Aboriginal Astronomy. Note that you will need to obtain permission from (a) those who give you the stories, and (b) in some cases, elders of your community.
Project 4: Emu in the Sky.
Collect from the literature and analyse the traditions relating to the "Emu in the Sky" from across Australia. Which language groups have this tradition? Do they all use the same bit of sky to represent the Emu? Do the stories vary much across Australia?
Project 5: Planets
In which language groups are planets distinguished from stars? Are there records commenting on their position (e.g. Venus and Mercury never straying far form the sun)? Was the relative pathway of the planets identified (ecliptic)? What are their relationship to stars with which they come into close contact (e.g. Mars/Antares, Pleiades, etc)? Were planetary conjunctions or occultations (e.g. planets passing behind moon) noticed? Was it noted that some planets move in the sky from night to night more quickly than others? Did any groups notice the retrograde motion of Mars? Are there any accounts of seeing the larger Galilean moons (which are just barely visible when furthest from Jupiter by someone with really good eyesight)?
Project 6: Torres Strait & Tiwi Astronomy
Most Australian Indigenous Astronomy research so far has focussed on mainland Australia, but we know there is a great deal of astronomy in the culture of the Torres Strait Islanders and of the people in the Tiwi Islands. This project will involve picking one of these two cultures, and searching the academic literature and other sources, and writing a review of what is known about the Astronomy of that culture.
Project 7: Constructing an on-line database of Indigenous Astronomy
The literature on Indigenous Astronomy is scattered over many sources, including journals, unpublished manuscripts, and manuscripts which can be viewable only by appropriately authorised people. We wish to construct an online database to make this information as accessible as possible. A preliminary specification is here. Do you have the skills to do this? We'd love you for it! And when it is constructed you'll be a co-author on a peer-reviewed paper describing it.