Fiona Panther is a PhD student at the Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Canberra, Australia. Her work spans theoretical, computational and observational astrophysics, and she focuses on understanding how positrons propagate in astrophysical plasmas and galactic outflows, how host galaxy environments influence peculiar thermonuclear supernovae and their progenitors, and how the rates of peculiar supernovae vary over cosmic time. She is a member of the SkyMapper telescope team, based at ANU, as well as the Dark Energy Survey and the related spectroscopic followup survey OzDES.
She was born in Northumberland in the UK, and emigrated to New Zealand with her family when she was 15. She received a BSc(Hons) degree in mathematics and physics from the University of Auckland. Her honours project focussed on the effects of General Relativity on the dynamics of the Milky Way’s nuclear star cluster. She moved to Australia in mid-2015 to start her PhD at ANU.
Fiona contributes a substantial amount of time to education and outreach. She has worked as a teaching assistant, laboratory demonstrator and guest lecturer at both the University of Auckland and the Australian National University for a number of courses. She particularly enjoys working with school groups that visit the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and was among those who helped prepare Mt Stromlo’s Visitor Center for its reopening in September 2016.
Outside of astronomy, Fiona has a strong interest in mathematics, computational techniques and bibliometrics. When not working on her PhD, she can be found playing ultimate frisbee or exploring Canberra on her bike.