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Professor Sarah Maddison

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, Experience and Employability


I am the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Innovation and Change), leading strategic academic innovation and change, and supporting STEM transformation at Swinburne.  I am also a professor of astrophysics and my main area of interest is planet formation, which I study both observationally and via computer simulations.

I lead the planets group in the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, and we are involved in a range of projects which study the evolution of dust in planet forming disks around young stars, as well as surveying the dust content of these disks in the solar neighbourhood. We use a range of numerical codes (N-body, hydro, thermodynamical, radiative transfer) and telescopes (Australia Telescope Compact Array, Sub-Millimetre Array, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) to study the formation and evolution of protoplanetary disks and the dust in these disks, as well as planetary dynamics and planet-disk interactions.  

I sit on a number of national & international committees, including the women in physics committee of the Australian Institute of Physics, the Square Kilometre Array 'Cradle of Life' Science Working group, and the Australian Research Council's College of Experts.

I am the founder and past chair of the women in astronomy chapter of the Astronomical Society of Australia and the International Astronomical Union working group for women in astronomy, and currently member of the women in physics committee of the Australian Institute of Physics. I am the Swinburne lead for the Science Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Pilot, run by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. I am also involved in a range of outreach activities, including the 3D AstroTour program at Swinburne and the CSIRO Scientists In Schools program.

Research interests

Astronomy; Planet formation; Star formation; Extrasolar planets

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Testing planetesimal collision models with debris disk observations: Planets form through the collisions of asteroid-like bodies. The only way to see these large bodies is via the dust grains they produce via collisions. The student will join an international team conducting the PLATYPUS survey with the Australia Telescope Compact Array to study intrinsic properties of debris disks and test predictions of collisional models of planetesimals.


Available to supervise honours students.

Fields of Research

  • Stellar Astronomy And Planetary Systems - 510109

Teaching areas

Star and Planet Formation


  • 2014, National, NOVA award, Open Universities Australia
  • 2012, Swinburne, Vice Chancellor's Teaching Award (Higher Education), Swinburne University of Technoogy
  • 2012, National, Office of Learning & Teaching Citation , Office of Learning & Teaching


Also published as: Maddison, Sarah; Maddison, S.; Maddison, S. T.; Maddison, Sarah T.
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

  • 2014: Visiting Researcher Scheme 2014 - Dr David Wilner *; Visiting Researcher Scheme
  • 2012: The Nanten2 International Sub-Millimetre Telescope *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme
  • 2011: Australia-Harvard Fellowship - Tyler L Bourke *; Harvard Club of Australia Foundation
  • 2011: The NANTEN2 Observatory sub-millimetre wave telescope *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme

* Chief Investigator