Tech Stuff

David Reneke

David Reneke, one of Australia’s most well-known and respected amateur astronomers and lecturers, has over 50 year’s experience in astronomy with links to some of the world’s leading astronomical institutions. David is the Editor for Australia’s Astro-Space News Magazine, past news editor of Sky & Space Magazine and is now affiliated as a writer and publicist for the prestigious Australasian Science magazine.

David teaches astronomy at college level, is an invited speaker at astronomy conventions throughout Australia, a feature writer for major Australian newspapers, and is a science correspondent for ABC and commercial radio stations. In these weekly radio interviews David regularly appears on over 60 networked stations across Australia with all the latest news and on general astronomy and space discovery issues. David’s audience numbers around 4 million listeners weekly!

(Source, David Reneke website)

Andy Gleadow

Andy Gleadow

Professor Andy Gleadow has been a pioneer in the development of fission track dating methods for understanding the thermal and tectonic evolution of the continental crust, establishing Australia at the forefront of this field internationally. 

He has published widely on fission track and other thermochronological methods, especially as applied to extensional tectonics, the evolution of cratons and orogenic belts, sedimentary basin analysis, and landscape evolution. He currently leads a major collaborative dating project aimed at establishing a robust time scale for the remarkable Indigenous rock art of the Kimberley Region of NW Australia. He has been Head of the Schools of Earth Sciences at both Melbourne and La Trobe Universities, and many other roles.

His work has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Geological Society of Australia, the Gold Medal of the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering, the Centenary Medal of the Australian Government. He is currently a Director of the Kimberley Foundation Australia and has previously served as President of the Geological Society of Australia and Councillor for the Australian Academy of Science. In 2017, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the earth sciences and education


Dr. Philipp Heck

Philipp R. Heck

Dr. Philipp R. Heck is the Robert A. Pritzker Associate Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL in the Science & Education division. He is also an Associate Professor (part time) at the University of Chicago’s Department of the Geophysical Sciences and the College and a member of the Chicago Center for Cosmochemistry.

Dr. Heck directs the research program in meteoritics at the Field Museum currently focuses on presolar grains to understand our parent stars and the history of our Galaxy, early solar system materials and on the delivery history of extraterrestrial matter to Earth.

Dr. Philipp R. Heck came to the Field Museum in March 2010 from the University of Chicago, where he was a postdoctoral scholar working on new analytical techniques for presolar grains. He obtained his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees at ETH Zurich in Switzerland in geo- and cosmochemistry. He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry where he studied the first comet dust brought back from Comet Wild-2 by NASA’s Stardust Mission and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he worked mainly on fossil meteorites and banded iron formations from around the world. For his studies he uses specialized analytical techniques such as secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS, IMS-1280 and TOF-SIMS), noble gas mass spectrometry, atom probe tomography, scanning electron microscopy and electron microprobe analysis. Sample preparation for atom-probe work is performed with focused ion beam workstations.


Professor Trevor Ireland

Professor Trevor Ireland  serving on the ANU Academic Board . Professor Ireland has experienced all aspects of ANU life from student to research fellow to Professor interspersed with appointments at universities in USA and Germany. Professor Ireland has had a truly fortunate career and would like to pay back on some of his experience to benefit future generations at ANU.

Professor Ireland scientific interests lie in the chemical and isotopic analysis of natural materials, particularly applied to studies of extraterrestrial materials (Moon, meteorites, asteroids). Since his PhD he has had an interest in the development of analytical instrumentation for chemical and isotopic analysis, as well as using new techniques. Professor Ireland completed his undergraduate studies in geology and physics at Otago University and his PhD at ANU on the newly completed SHRIMP mass spectrometer.

Professor Ireland has held postdoctoral positions at Washington University in St Louis, at Max Plank Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, at UCLA, as well as QEII and Research Fellowships at ANU. Professor Ireland also held a faculty position at Stanford University before coming back to ANU in 2000.

Warwick Holmes

Warwick Holmes

Warwick Holmes is a Avionics Engineer having worked at an Aero-space Engineer on the Rosetta Project, ESA. The ESA Rosetta and Philae mission, was to make a spacecraft to orbit and land on a comet outside the Asteroid belt. Turning the idea into a physical reality. Roestta flew for more than 10 years through the solar-system.  

Mr Holmes grew up in Adelaide and then attended high school in Canberra and Sydney. Mr Holmes holds three degrees, Science Majoring in Physics and Pure Mathematics, Electrical Engineering and has a Masters of Technology Management and has worked as the Assembly Integration and Test Engineers building the Rosetta spacecraft and was the Avionics Systems Engineers with the European Space Agency. 

Professor Phil Bland

Professor Phil Bland joined Curtin University as an ARC Laureate Fellow in 2012. Prior to this he was Director of the Impacts & Astromaterials Research Centre at Imperial College London. He graduated in geology from the University of Manchester in 1991. His interest in planetary science began with a 3 year post as curator of meteorites at the Open University. He was awarded a PhD in 1995. Phil spent a sent a year as a Royal Society Overseas Research Fellow at the WA Museum before taking up a Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council Research Fellowship at the Natural History Museum (London). In 2000 he was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.

Craig O’Neil

Associate Prof. Craig O’Neill is the director of the Planetary Research Centre at Macquarie University, and an Associate Professor in geodynamics and planetary science, in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at Macquarie University. He is a Chief Investigator and board member of the Core to Crust Fluid Systems (CCFS) ARC Centre of Excellence.

His research interests include computational geodynamics, planetary evolution, satellite geophysics, and archeological geophysics.

When not staring bleary-eyed at screen of rolling numbers, or attempting to inject coffee intravenously, he can often be found fighting people whilst wearing baggy pyjamas, or wandering the outback sticking things into rocks

Professor Gretchen Benedix

Professor Gretchen Benedix is a cosmic mineralogist / astro-geologist using the chemistry, mineralogy, spectroscopy and petrology of meteorites to understand the formation and evolution of asteroids and other planets.  She got her PhD at the University of Hawaii, Manoa in 1997, working on unravelling the geologic history of a rare group of meteorites that offer a snapshot into planetary differentiation processes.   After this, she held a number of post-doctoral positions that broadened her knowledge base, from determining the surface composition of Saturn’s moons to looking at how water/ice interacts with silicates on small bodies.  She has worked at both the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and The Natural History Museum in London as a researcher.   She joined Curtin in 2012 as a Senior Lecturer.  She was awarded a Senior Curtin Research Fellowship in 2014.  She currently holds an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship.

Martin Van Kranendonk

Martin Van Kranendonk is the Professor of Geology of UNSW, with 28 years of mapping and research experience in a variety of structurally complex Precambrian terrains. His main interest is on the early history of the Earth and has developed an international reputation for his work on Archean tectonics and the geological settings of early life on Earth. More recently, as Chair of the Precambrian Subcommission of the International Commission on Stratigraphy, He has commenced a wholescale review of Precambrian stratigraphy with the aim of revising the Precambrian timescale. His particular skills are mapping and the ability to integrate a wide range of geological data into 4-D models, from the craton to micrometre scale.

Van Kranendonk’s research on early life has established a connection between the earliest putative fossil remains and low-temperature hydrothermal systems, and recognised that life in the early Archean was already diverse, occupying different niches.

 Van Kranendonk’s research in the Pilbara and Yilgarn cratons of Western Australia has placed me at the forefront of Archean tectonic studies, culminating with the recent publication of a book on “Earth’s Oldest Rocks” (Elsevier, 2007). He has also been guest editor for two special volumes of Precambrian Research (2004), and has authored more than 60 publications in international journals. Van Kranendonk is  also the Assistant Director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, co-leader of IGCP-SIDA Project 599 “The Changing Early Earth”, and Core Member of the International Precambrian Research Centre of China. He is on the editorial boards of Precambrian Research, Geology, Astrobiology, and Episodes.

Dr. Mike Zolensky

Mike Zolensky

Dr. Michael Zolensky works on the characterization of the chemical weathering record of asteroids and primitive mineralogy of comets at NASA. He is currently leading efforts to locate and characterize aqueous fluid inclusions in astromaterials.

He has led or participated in successful meteorite recovery expeditions on four continents and developed techniques for characterization of meteoroid and space debris impact features on spacecraft. Dr Zolensky has also led the effort to characterize the impact record of the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) satellite and developed new techniques for the analysis of microparticles.

He led sample analysis teams for the Stardust comet coma dust return mission, and the Hayabusa asteroid regolith sample return mission. Now he is on the Hayabusa2 mission science team, which is developing the next generation of astromaterial sample handling and analysis protocols.