30.png

I'm Fiona H. Panther, I'm a British/Kiwi astronomer working at UNSW Canberra, Australia.

I am a physicist and mathematician with an interest in astronomy.  My expertise is primarily in microphysical astronomy: how processes that occur on the atomic and subatomic scale can influence what we observe on galactic and cosmological (whole-universe) size scales.

My interest in astronomy arose because I was unable to choose a single field of physics in which to concentrate. I am fascinated by particle physics, nuclear physics, and the behavior of matter in physical extremes, as well as the mathematics that underlies the physical world. More recently I have developed interests in understanding how to improve imaging of MeV gamma-rays with coded-aperture systems.

With Prof. Ken Freeman at the ANU Open Day 2018

With Prof. Ken Freeman at the ANU Open Day 2018

 

My PhD at the Australian National University focused on understanding the origin of antimatter in our Galaxy. Although primarily a problem in gamma-ray astronomy, explaining the origin of the immense number of positrons (anti-electrons) that annihilate in our Galaxy has implications for our understanding of nucleosynthesis, supernova rates, cosmic ray propagation, and Galactic chemical evolution.

Although I am primarily a theorist, most at home solving problems via computational methods or with good old-fashioned pen and paper, I am also an experienced observer. I am interested in optical spectroscopy, particularly integral field unit (IFU) data, and multi-object fiber spectroscopy. I am interested in using data from these systems to understand how supernovae are influenced by properties of their host galaxies, such as stellar population age, angular momentum and metallicity.

More recently, I have joined the International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) team working on data from the Spectrometer on-board INTEGRAL (SPI, pronounced 'spee'). I am interested in understanding the complex backgrounds produced in the SPI instrument, and the analysis of low signal-to-noise data where simple background subtractions are not tangible.

Sharing information about ANU's SkyMapper Transient Search at opening of the Mt Stromlo visitor center. Photo: D. Barat

Sharing information about ANU's SkyMapper Transient Search at opening of the Mt Stromlo visitor center. Photo: D. Barat

Aside from my research, I am also interested in developing software and data visualizations for astronomy applications. I enjoy volunteering my time to Mt Stromlo Observatory's excellent outreach program, and I have recently become a science mentor in the MSATT teaching telescope program. I give public talks several times a year (please contact me for more information).