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Hinkler Innovation Series set to be out of this world

hinkler innovation series
Dr Michael Cowley, astrophysicist, has commenced on calculating the distance to astronomical objects from Earth in preparation for mapping the evolution of the universe.

The upcoming Hinkler Innovation Series breakfast is set to be out of this world with QUT astrophysicist Dr Michael Cowley joining Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Surfing Scientist Ruben Meerman as guest speaker at the event.

With the topic From STEM to Space, the event is set to discuss the role science, technology, engineering and mathematics will play in the future.

Dr Cowley said his presentation at the event would touch on a range of topics, including an overview of astrophysics and its use in today’s world.

“My plan is to provide a bit of an overview of how an Astrophysicist uses astronomy to explore space, so I am going to provide some modern perspective such as how we use ground and space based telescopes,” Dr Cowley said.

“I will also discuss cultural approaches such as Indigenous astronomy to show there is a link between this and our modern way of thinking and why this is important to consider moving forward.”

As a cosmologist, Dr Cowley said he worked with people all around the world to determine how the universe came to be and how it had continued to evolve.

“Day to day I am a cosmologist so I work on understanding how the universe came to be and how it has evolved during time,” he said.

“I also have a strong focus on teaching, so a lot of my time is spent educating people on astronomy and astrophysics.”

Dr Cowley is an astrophysics lecturer and is also responsible for coordinating QUT’s Astrophysics Research Group.

He said the potential for the region to be home to a NASA affiliated Challenger Learning Centre was a great way to showcase what opportunities were available to students in their own backyard.

“Having something like this in your backyard is something that motivates young people to have an interest in different things such as space,” he said.

“This gives people the opportunity to feel as though they can make a real contribution from a regional town such as Bundaberg.”

Dr Cowley completed his PhD at Macquarie University and the Australian Astronomical Observatory, where he researched the evolutionary impact of supermassive black holes on their host galaxies.

He is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of Southern Queensland, a science liaison for CSIRO's Scientists in Schools program, and a steering committee member for the ASA's Education and Public Outreach Chapter.

The Hinkler Innovation Series Breakfast is on Thursday 2 December at the Bundaberg Multiplex Convention Centre from 6.30 – 9 am with tickets available here.

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