Researcher

My Expertise

Galaxy formation and evolution

Optical astronomy and telescope facilities

Fields of Research (FoR)

Cosmology and extragalactic astronomy

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Biography

My name is Dr Caroline Foster (most people just call me Caro) and I am an astronomer within the School of Physics. I am originally from Quebec (la belle province), Canada. I did my BSc in physics and mathematics and an MSc in astrophysics at Bishop’s University (Quebec, Canada). I completed my PhD at Swinburne University (Melbourne, Australia) in 2011. I am currently an ARC Future Fellow and Scientia Senior Lecturer at UNSW.

My research...view more

My name is Dr Caroline Foster (most people just call me Caro) and I am an astronomer within the School of Physics. I am originally from Quebec (la belle province), Canada. I did my BSc in physics and mathematics and an MSc in astrophysics at Bishop’s University (Quebec, Canada). I completed my PhD at Swinburne University (Melbourne, Australia) in 2011. I am currently an ARC Future Fellow and Scientia Senior Lecturer at UNSW.

My research interests have broadly focused on the formation and chemical enrichment of various structures in the universe. My research has led to the development of innovative techniques to exploit 3D spectroscopy data from the largest scales, cosmological voids, down to much smaller structures, globular clusters.

I am also a fierce diversity advocate and a keen outreach/public speaker/author.

You will find more about me and my research here. You may also follow me on Mastodon

Brief summary of my Future Fellowship project :

The spin of galaxies is slowing down and nobody really knows why. This dynamical transformation is predicted by theoretical simulations, but different simulations disagree on its exact causes and their relative importance. Until recently, the data required to map the gas and stars in galaxies during the transition and identify its root causes in galaxies around 3-4 billion years ago were critically lacking. My Future Fellowship project leverages on the Middle Age Galaxy Properties with Integral field spectroscopy (MAGPI) survey, a large programme on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. This dataset is designed to directly detect and address this important unknown. By comparing MAGPI with local surveys (e.g. SAMI and Hector) and using redshift surveys such as GAMA and DEVILS, I am identifying the key physical drivers for the morphological and dynamical transformation of galaxies across cosmic time.


My Grants

ARC Future Fellowship 2021, 2021-2025, "Time takes its toll: understanding why galaxies slow down as they get older"; C. Foster, Australian Research Council; $727,000AUD

ARC Discovery Project 2021, 2021-2024, “Beacons in the night:” unveiling how galaxies light up dark matter; C. Lagos, A. Robotham, A. Ludlow, C. Foster, T. Yuan, T. Mendel, A. Tiley, J. Schaye, R. Bower; Australian Research Council; $645,000AUD

ARC Discovery Project 2019, 2019-2021, Ultra-faint signatures of galaxy growth seen through the cosmic haze; L. Spitler, J. Dawson, C. Foster, D. Zucker; Australian Research Council; $330,000AUD

NSERC Graduate Scholarship, 2006-2007, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, $17,300CA


My Qualifications

PhD in Astrophysics 2007-2011, Swinburne University of Technology Victoria, Australia; Thesis title : The Assembly and Chemical Evolution of Nearby Early-type Galaxies

MSc with Physics Concentration 2005-2007, Bishops University Quebec, Canada; Thesis title : The Size and Distribution of Cosmological Voids in the SDSS 

BSc with double major in Physics and Mathematics 2002-2005; Bishops University Quebec, Canada


My Awards

European Southern Observatory Large Program 2019-present; The Middle Age Galaxy Properties with Integral field spectroscopy (MAGPI) survey; Cash equivalent ~$3.4M AUD (https://magpisurvey.org)

Best Thesis University Award 2011, Swinburne University


My Research Activities

An up-to-date publications list is available through ORCID:

ORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-0247-1204


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

I am open to supervising honours and PhD in extragalactic astronomy, galaxy dynamics and galaxy evolution.

Mentoring philosophy

Through active listening and discussion, I support mentees and students in developing their style, as well as clarifying and choosing the path towards their own career goals. I encourage my students to develop problem-solving skills by trying to find solutions on their own and guiding them as needed. I adjust my level of support for each student to ensure they remain challenged without being overwhelmed. I have found this student-led approach to be a very effective mentoring style in research.

All the PhD students I supervised have gone on to successful STEM careers in or outside astronomy. I regularly hear from some of my past undergraduate interns, many of which have gone on to completing their MSc and/or PhD in astronomy.


Currently supervising

I am the primary supervisor for PhD candidate R. Bagge.

I have supervised 11 undergraduate and acted as co-supervisor for 3 PhD students.

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Location

Old Main Building, Room 129

Contact

+61-2-9348 0982