Prof. Bryan M. Gaensler

Pronouns: he/him
Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics
The University of Toronto
50 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3H4, Canada
Phone: +1 416 978 6223
(last seen in Toronto ON, Canada)

I am not offering scholarships to the University of Toronto. It is a scam. Do not pay any money to anybody claiming to be me.

I am an astronomer, working as Director of the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics. In addition, I am a Canada Research Chair and Professor of Astronomy in the David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at The University of Toronto, and am the co-chair for the Toronto Initiative for Diversity and Excellence (TIDE).

As Director of the Dunlap Institute, I aim to develop new approaches to astronomy through innovative hardware and software, to train the next generation of astronomers, and to foster public engagement in science.

My research interests focus on cosmic magnetism, time-domain astrophysics and interstellar gas. My main goal is to understand why the Universe is magnetic: in particular, I am using the unique capabilities of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) to conduct the Polarisation Sky Survey of the Universe's Magnetism (POSSUM). POSSUM is based around an effect called "Faraday rotation", in which light from a background object is subtly changed when it passes through a cloud of magnetizsed gas. By measuring the Faraday rotation in the emission from a million distant galaxies over 50% of the sky, POSSUM aims to transform our understanding of magnetic fields in galaxies, clusters and in diffuse intergalactic gas, and to thus address key unanswered questions on Milky Way ecology, galaxy evolution and cosmology. The data from POSSUM will provide a substantial legacy to the astronomical community, while the new instrumentation required for this project is prototyping the technology needed for the Square Kilometre Array.

I also study the ways in which celestial objects change, flicker, flare and explode. I am involved in several systemic studies of the time-domain Universe, tailored to the unique capabilities of wide-field telescopes and all-sky surveys. I'm particularly excited by fast radio bursts (FRBs), random and intense flashes of distant radio emission whose nature and origin are one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy. I am fortunate to be part of the CHIME/FRB team, which has discovered more FRBs than every other experiment combined!

If you are a UofT student interested in joining my research team, please feel free to email me.

I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. I did my undergraduate and graduate degrees at The University of Sydney and at CSIRO's Australia Telescope National Facility. I subsequently held postdoctoral fellowships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, was an associate professor of astronomy at Harvard University, an ARC Federation Fellow and Australian Laureate Fellow at The University of Sydney, and then was the Canada Research Chair in Radio Astronomy at the University of Toronto. From 2011 to 2014, I was the founding director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics.

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