In Summary

Swinburne University of Technology astronomy alumnus Dr Lee Spitler has been recognised among New South Wales’ best young scientists at the prestigious Young Tall Poppy Science Awards.

Dr Spitler completed his PhD and undertook postdoctoral work at Swinburne before being offered a lectureship at Macquarie University in Sydney. His research focuses on pushing current telescope technology to its limits.

“In working with new telescope technologies we can observe light produced during an early period of the Universe we have never accessed before: when it was 3 billion years old and only a fifth of the age it is today,” Dr Spitler said.

“We are working towards completing a historical record of how galaxies like the galaxy we live in, the Milky Way, were created and evolved over the 13.7 billion year lifetime of the Universe!”

Professor Karl Glazebrook, Director of the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne said Dr Spitler’s award was well deserved.

"Dr Spitler was one of our star graduates, being an exceptionally gifted and innovative young researcher,” he said.

The Young Tall Poppy awards are run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science to honour up-and-coming scientists who combine world-class research with a passionate commitment to communicating science. More than 300 young scientists have been honoured nationally since the award was established in 2000.

As part of the Young Tall Poppy campaign, award winners spend a year sharing their knowledge with school students, teachers and the broader community through workshops, seminars and public lectures.

“Astronomy is a great way for children, young adults and adults to think and be inspired by science,” Dr Spitler said. “I’m really looking forward to getting to more schools, astronomy groups and community events throughout 2015.”