Professor to explain science of 'galaxy collisions'

08 November 2012
Professor Richard de Grijs will speak at USQ
A visiting professor to the University of Southern Queensland will discuss the more violent side of space during a presentation at the Toowoomba campus entitled “When Galaxies Collide”.

Professor Richard de Grijs from the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics and Peking University in China will be talking about the wrecks resulting from galaxy collisions and what the implications of galaxy collisions are for us in the Milky Way.

Professor de Grijs likened his research to an intergalactic form of CSI.

‘Studying galactic interactions is like sifting through the forensic evidence at a crime scene,’ Professor de Grijs said.

‘Astronomers wade through the debris of a violent encounter, collecting clues so they can reconstruct the celestial crime to determine when it happened.

‘For example, the case of Messier 82, a small, nearby galaxy that bumped into its larger neighbour Messier 81 long ago— when did this violent encounter occur?

‘New infrared and visible light pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope reveal, for the first time, important details of large clusters of stars which arose from the interaction.’

Professor de Grijs is also a 2012 Selby Fellow at the Australian Academy of Science.

The free presentation will be held at the Allison Dickson Lecture Theatre (H102) at USQ from 4pm to 5pm this Friday, November 9.

Light refreshments will be served from 3.30pm.

USQ Senior Physics Lecturer Dr Brad Carter will also speak about the upcoming partial solar eclipse which will occur on the morning of Wednesday 14 November. Attendees at Friday’s presentation will have the opportunity to purchase eclipse glasses for $3 each in preparation.

The Toowoomba community is invited to this event and encouraged to RSVP a place to Debbie White on 4631 2961 or For further information, please visit this page.

Media contact:
Jim Campbell,, 07 4631 2977

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