Pioneering astrophysicist Professor Matthew Bailes has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to science by being elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences.
Professor Bailes specialized in the study of pulsars, fast radio bursts and gravitation, making major contributions to establishing Australia’s high international profile in these fields.
In particular, he played a pivotal role in the development of a new branch of astrophysics, Fast Radio Bursts, by developing pioneering instruments and software that led to Australia’s early dominance in this field.
Professor Bailes has played a pivotal role in bringing Swinburne University of Technology to the forefront of astrophysics.
Center for Astrophysics and Supercomputing
In 1998 he established the Swinburne Center for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, internationally recognized as a center for astrophysics and virtual reality content for public outreach.
The center houses one of Australia’s most powerful supercomputers and has developed 3D virtual reality films for its custom 3D and IMAX cinemas.
The center has earned over 100 PhDs and pioneered online education through Swinburne Astronomy Online, but has also worked with many school children for work experience and virtual tours of the Universe in their personalized 3D theater .
ARC Center of Excellence for the Discovery of Gravitational Waves
In 2016 Professor Bailes was appointed Director of the Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for the Discovery of Gravitational Waves (OzGrav). Hosted at Swinburne OzGrav is a global collaboration that aims to understand the extreme physics of black holes and distorted spacetime.
Professor Bailes has been named among 22 outstanding scholars from across the breadth of Australian science as a Fellow of the Academy.
On hearing the news of his election, Professor Bailes said: “I have always had a burning desire to understand how the Universe works and I would like to thank my mentors, staff, collaborators and students for having enabled the discoveries in which I was involved.”
He called discovering the Fast Radio Bursts the highlight of his career. “I couldn’t sleep the night after the first one was discovered because it seemed too good to be true! Fortunately, it was true.
The new president of the Australian Academy of Sciences, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC, congratulated the new scholars for their contributions to science.
“Fellows of the Australian Academy of Sciences are among the most eminent scientists in the country, elected by their peers for their groundbreaking research and contributions that have had a clear impact,” says Professor Jagadish.
“We reflect a diverse and inclusive scientific community that recognizes the widest range of talents, backgrounds, perspectives and experiences, and we are united by our contribution and commitment to scientific excellence.”