Story of Light - The Astronomer’s Perspective

Almost everything we know about the Universe comes from light emitted by stars and gas. As part of the International Year of Light, this panel of three esteemed astronomers will present “The Story of Light” with Q&A opportunities for the audience. The entertaining panel will describe the many ways astronomers use light and light-based technologies to uncover exciting mysteries of the Universe and improve our understanding of cosmology, exoplanets, the Search for Life and more!

The talk will be divided into four sessions.

1 – highlighting what light is, recognising that almost everything we know about the Universe is because of the light emitted by stars and gas.

2 – focusing on light technologies, to tie in with the International Year of Light and Light Technologies 2015, by describing major light technology breakthroughs in Australian astronomy, including radio astronomy and the optical field of photonics.

3-  exploring how these technologies have led to major scientific contributions toward our understanding of galaxies, since this event will kick off an international galaxy conference hosted in Sydney the following week.

4 – the panel will welcome questions from the audience for a final discussion session.


Joss Bland-Hawthorn is an Australian Laureate Fellow and Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney. He is the current Director of the Sydney Institute for Astronomy and co-founder of the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science.

Fred Watson is an astronomer at the Australian Astronomical Observatory, where he is Astronomer-in-Charge and Head of Lighting and Environment. Fred is best known for his radio and TV broadcasts, talks, and other outreach programs, which earned him the 2006 Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science.

Amanda Bauer is a Research Astronomer and Outreach Officer for the Australian Astronomical Observatory and recently named one of Australia’s “Top 5 Under 40” science researchers and communicators. Amanda uses earth-based and orbiting space telescopes to explore variations in how galaxies formed, how they lived their lives, and how they evolved into the diverse array of galaxy species we see today.