Welcome to Andrew's Homepage!

X-ray Crab

Life Imitates Art

(Top.) X-ray image of the inner Crab nebula, taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The torus and interior ring lie in the equatorial plane of the relativistic wind of the Crab pulsar. The jet is directed along the poles. The radius of the torus is approximately 0.1 parsecs.
(Bottom.) The Theorist Ignites a Supernova Behind his Whiteboard, or Life Imitates Art. (Click for full sized version.)

Contact details

Dr Andrew Melatos
School of Physics
University of Melbourne
Parkville VIC 3010

Tel: +61 3 8344 5436
Fax: +61 3 9347 4783
E-mail: amelatos@unimelb.edu.au
Room: 311, Physics Bldg

Curriculum vitae (abridged)

I am currently a Professor in the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

1997-2000 Miller Fellow (Astronomy), University of California at Berkeley, USA
1995-1997 Research Fellow (Theoretical Astrophysics), California Institute of Technology, USA
1992-1995 PhD, University of Sydney, Australia
1988-1991 BSc (University Medal), University of Sydney, Australia

In 2004-07, I served on the National Committee for Astronomy of the Australian Academy of Science, which authored the 2005 Decadal Review of Australian Astronomy.

I have also served as Chair of the International Steering Committee of the Texas Symposium Series (2006-08) and as a member of the Australia Telescope Time Assignment Committee (2002-04), Gemini Telescope Science Advisory Committee (2005-07), and LIGO Scientific Collaboration Council (2014-present).

Research interests

If you have any questions about potential PhD projects or collaborations, please email me at the above address. I would be delighted to hear from you! NEW! A dream comes true! LIGO detects gravitational waves from a binary neutron star merger for the first time, and the heavens light up across the entire electromagnetic spectrum! Visit the LIGO Open Science Center and the home page for the event GW170817 to download and play with the LIGO data and learn more about the signals observed at gamma-ray, X-ray, optical, and radio wavelengths. Among other things, the data confirm that the speed of gravity equals the speed of light to within a few parts in 1e15, as Einstein predicted a century ago. Mind-blowing!

NEW! The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, OzGrav, is funded in 2017, a far-sighted national investment in cutting-edge science and STEM development in our community. Bookmark the OzGrav website and stay tuned for updates regarding the Centre's physics discoveries and public outreach activities.

NEW! Visit the LIGO Detection Portal to read about LIGO's stunning, historic first direct detection of gravitational waves in 2015, one hundred years after their existence was predicted by Einstein! Visit the LIGO Open Science Center to download and play with actual data from the first detection and subsequent discoveries.

NEW! Anthony van Eysden wins the 2012 Charlene Heisler Prize of the Astronomical Society of Australia for his PhD thesis entitled "Superfluid spin up and pulsar glitch recovery", which, among other things, explains quantitatively for the first time the results of the classic Tsakadze experiments on rotating liquid helium in the 1970's and 1980's. Anthony is leaving soon to commence a postdoc at the prestigious NORDITA institute for theoretical physics in beautiful Stockholm!

NEW! Here is an extremely cool movie showing results from the first ever quantum mechanical simulations of neutron star glitches! The colour plot depicts superfluid density; dark blue is very low density (vortex cores), green is low density (pinning sites in a square grid), and yellow and red are higher density. As the stellar crust decelerates gradually (angular velocity versus time plotted as a black curve), vortices unpin in groups and cause the crust to spin up suddenly - a glitch! If you squint, you can see evidence for collective behaviour: knock-on events, or avalanches, where a vortex unpins and triggers other vortices to unpin as well, either by moving closer to them, or moving away and making room for them, or by emitting sound waves (the superfluid wobbles like jelly!). Details of the simulations (which solve the Gross-Pitaevskii equation for a zero-temperature Bose-Einstein condensate) can be found in the papers Warszawski and Melatos (2012) and Warszawski and Melatos (2011).

NEW! Follow the link here to download the fascinating (and very readable) Strategic Roadmap published by the Gravitational Wave International Committee, which lists many of the cool discoveries we will be able to make with gravitational waves once we detect them.

NEW! Follow the links here (part 1, 79MB), here (part 2, 5.5MB), here (part 3, 2.5MB), and here (part 4, 375MB), to view a series of four Dublin IAS Summer School lectures (including movies!) introducing gravitational wave astrophysics: the current state of the field, and the exciting prospects it holds for the future.

We do some gravitational wave data analysis as part of our work with the international LIGO project. Right now we are searching the latest LIGO data for signals from Scorpius X-1 (the brightest X-ray source in the sky) and from the invisible neutron star in SN1987A (we think the star is there because a burst of neutrinos was detected by observatories on Earth when this supernova exploded in 1987). Gravitational wave data analysis is a massive computing challenge! Our group (led by PhD student Letizia Sammut) won a prize for applying the latest cloud computing technology to our LIGO work in the SCALE 2011 Challenge, an international competition run by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Here is an article about the project.

Follow the link here to read an article describing our work on gravitational waves from magnetic mountains in the popular magazine New Scientist (March 2008).

Please click on the links below to see some recent results (and pretty images!) generated by my students.

Postdoctoral fellows

Here is a list of the long-term postdoctoral researchers who have worked in the group and a short description of what they are up to now.

Research students

Here is a list of my current and former research students and a short description of what they are up to now.

Resources for Lecture Courses

Statistical Mechanics Syllabus
Statistical Mechanics Notes
Assignment 1
Assignment 2
Assignment 3
Assignment 4

© The University of Melbourne 1994-2000. Disclaimer and Copyright Information. Authorised by: Head of Astrophysics Group, School of Physics
Last modified: ; Created: 2000 April 7; Maintained by: A. Melatos; Email: a.melatos@physics.unimelb.edu.au