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Professor Emma Ryan-Weber



Professor Emma Ryan-Weber is an astrophysicist, she leads the intergalactic medium research group at Swinburne. The science focuses on detecting atomic elements in the early, distant Universe. Ryan-Weber is the Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions, ASTRO 3D.

Ryan-Weber and her team conduct this research using near-infrared spectroscopy towards high redshift quasars on the world's largest telescopes including Keck and the ESO VLT. The team also work on high redshift galaxies and examine their influence on reionization, including their escaping fraction of ionizing radiation. Ryan-Weber’s doctoral research focused on HI in the local universe – a field where she continues an active interest. Ryan-Weber leads the metal absorber work package for the European Southern Observatory (ESO) VLT Large Program, XQR-30. The program is the most ambitious to date for follow-up spectroscopy of redshift 6 quasars, used to probe intervening elements such as Carbon and Oxygen.

Ryan-Weber obtained her PhD from the University of Melbourne in 2004 on Neutral Hydrogen in Galaxies and the Intergalactic Medium. From 2004 to 2008 Ryan-Weber was a postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cambridge working on number of cutting-edge projects including star formation between galaxies and the discovery of the Milky Way’s faintest gas-rich dwarf companion. Ryan-Weber’s pioneering observations using near-infrared spectroscopy revealed the most distant carbon detected in the intergalactic medium. She is a sought-after international speaker on the subject. In 2009 Ryan-Weber returned to Australia and commenced a position at Swinburne’s Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, where she held an Australian Research Council Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship. As a research group leader Ryan-Weber mentors her PhD graduates and postdoctoral researchers to pursue careers in both astrophysics and industry, creating impact in the wider community.


Research interests

Astronomy; Astrophysics; Physics; Intergalactic Medium; Reionization; Keck

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Probing chemical elements across cosmic time: Looking back to a billion year after the Big Bang, Astronomers have now observed chemical elements, such as magnesium and carbon in the halos of galaxies. The PhD will compare Magnesium and Carbon absorption line features to establish whether an ionization phase change occurs in gas around galaxies at redshift 5.7, corresponding to the end of the Epoch of Reionisation. 


Available to supervise honours students.

Honours topics and outlines

Highly ionizing galaxies at redshift 3 – do they have different colours?:  The aim of this honours project is to measure the colour of galaxies at redshift 3 and compare galaxies selected in three different ways (Lyman-break, Lyman-continuum and Lyman-alpha emission). The project will involve examining existing data from the Keck telescope multi-object spectrograph MOSFIRE.  

Fields of Research

  • Cosmology And Extragalactic Astronomy - 510103


Also published as: Ryan-Weber, Emma; Ryan-Weber, E.; Ryan-Weber, E. V.; Ryan-Weber, Emma V.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2017: ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions *; ARC Centre of Excellence Scheme
  • 2014: Mapping the Universe with the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (PanSTARRS) *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme

* Chief Investigator

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