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AIP VIC Branch Public Lecture – Prof Rachel Webster, Nobel Lecturer 2019

November 21, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

The Australian Institute of Physics invites you to join us for an evening with Professor Rachel Webster, the AIP Nobel Lecturer for 2019.

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2019 was awarded “for contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos” with one half to James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology”, the other half jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.” Every year, the Australian Institute of Physics, Victoria branch, invites a distinguished speaker to present the Nobel Lecture in Melbourne. The AIP Nobel Lecturer is selected due to their knowledge in the same field as that for which the prize was awarded.

In 1992, Rachel Webster returned to the University of Melbourne, where she received a grant for research related to the Parkes Quasar Survey. She was primarily concerned with how galaxies bend light, known as gravitational lensing. Today, her research group uses equipment including the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Gemini telescopes, the Hubble Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Webster is a member of the International Consortium, helping to design a new low-frequency radio telescope, to be installed in Western Australia. Webster’s ultimate aim is to identify the first sources of the universe. This information is being uncovered via her studies and detection of reionised hydrogen atoms and the structural analysis of neutral hydrogen clouds. She has also conducted research into quasar emission regions, cosmology, the Murchison Widefield Array and dark matter.

Professor Rachel Webster has had a stellar career teaching and researching astronomy for over 20 years. Originally gaining her doctorate thesis at Cambridge University, she has spent productive years honing her skills in Canada at the University of Toronto, both teaching and doing research. Her work has been internationally recognized with internationally prestigious scholarships. She was also the inaugural AIP Woman in Physics Lecturer. In 1992, she returned to The University of Melbourne to take up a position as a teaching and research academic within the School of Physics where she currently leads the Astrophysics research group comprising more than 60 research students and staff.

Light refreshments will be offered.


AIP Members only – After the lecture, the AGM of the Victorian branch will take place.