Delving into the origins of the Universe

Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker is an astrophysicist working on the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA, or ‘GLEAM’ survey, which builds a picture of the Universe by observing radio waves that have been travelling through space — some for billions of years.

“The human eye sees by comparing brightness in three different primary colours – red, green and blue,” Hurley-Walker says.

“GLEAM does better than that, viewing the sky in 20 primary colours.

“We’re able to see the remnants of explosions from the most ancient stars in our galaxy, and find the first and last gasps of supermassive black holes.”

Hurley-Walker holds a master degree in physics with astrophysics, and completed her PhD research by helping build and commission a new radio telescope in Cambridge, UK. She moved to Australia to help establish the Curtin-led Murchison Widefield Array, a precursor to the world's most powerful telescope, the Square Kilometre Array, which Curtin is also heavily involved with. Since 2011, Hurley-Walker has been working with Curtin and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) – a Curtin-UWA joint venture – accumulating an in-depth knowledge of radio astronomy, the southern radio sky and supercomputing.

In 2017, Hurley-Walker received the West Australian Young Tall Poppy science award for her contribution to the field.

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Learn more:
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International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)
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