Bryan Gaensler

Bryan Malcolm Gaensler

Gaensler addressing the Macarthur Astronomy Forum (at University of Western Sydney), November 2011
Born (1973-07-04) 4 July 1973
Sydney, Australia
Residence Toronto
Nationality Australian
Fields Physics (astrophysics)
Institutions University of Toronto
Alma mater University of Sydney
Notable awards Young Australian of the Year

Bryan Malcolm Gaensler (born 4 July 1973) is an Australian astronomer and former Young Australian of the Year, currently based at the University of Toronto. He studies magnetars, supernova remnants and magnetic fields. On 10 June 2014, it was announced that Gaensler was appointed as Director of the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, filling the hiatus after James R. Graham's departure.


Gaensler was born in Sydney, Australia. He attended Sydney Grammar School, and then studied at the University of Sydney, graduating with a B.Sc. with first class honours in physics (1995), followed by a PhD in astrophysics (1999).


From 1998 to 2001, Gaensler held a Hubble Fellowship at the Center for Space Research of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2001 he moved to the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory as a Clay Fellow. In 2002, he took up an appointment as an assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University.

In 2006, he moved back to Sydney as an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney and in 2011 he was also appointed Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO).[1] In June 2014, Gaensler announced that he would be leaving CAASTRO and taking up a position as director of the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at The University of Toronto [2] commencing in January 2015.


In 1997, Gaensler showed that many supernova remnants are aligned with the magnetic field of the Milky Way like "cosmic compasses".[3] In 2000, he and Dale Frail calculated that some pulsars are much older than previously believed.[4] In 2004, Gaensler used the Chandra X-ray Observatory to make the first detailed study of the behavior of high-energy particles around a fast moving pulsar.[5]

In 2005, Gaensler was reported to have solved the mystery of why some supernova explosions form magnetars while others form ordinary pulsars.[6] Later that year, he and his colleagues observed one of the brightest explosions ever observed in the history of astronomy, resulting from a sudden pulse of gamma rays from the magnetar SGR 1806-20.[7] In 2005, Gaensler also reported puzzling new observations of the Large Magellanic Cloud, showing that powerful but unknown forces were at work in maintaining this galaxy's magnetic field.[8]

Gaensler was formerly the international project scientist for the Square Kilometre Array, a next-generation radio telescope. The SKA organisation has since announced that Gaensler is a member of the SKA Magnetism Science Working Group.[9]

In 2011, Gaensler published his first book, Extreme Cosmos.

Honours and awards


  1. Katynna Gill (13 November 2011). "CAASTRO: A new way of looking at the sky". University of Sydney. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  3. "STUDENT DISCOVERY: EXPLODED STARS 'COSMIC COMPASSES'". CSIRO Australia. 9 July 1997. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  4. "Pulsars 'lying about their age,' astronomers conclude". CNN. 31 July 2000. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  5. "The Mouse That Soared". Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. 23 September 2004. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  6. "Magnetic Mystery Solved". ScienceDaily. 2 Feb 2005. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  7. CHANG, KENNETH (18 February 2005). "Starburst Was One of Brightest Objects Observed on Earth". New York Times. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  8. "Scientists say hassled galaxy 'thriving on chaos'". Spaceflight Now. 12 March 2005. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  9. Square Kilometre Array. "Magnetism Science Working Group Membership". SKA Telescope. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
  10. "Young Australian of the Year 1999: Dr Bryan Gaensler". Australian of the Year Awards. National Australia Day Council. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  11. "Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in Astronomy". American Astronomical Society. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  12. "Professor Bryan Gaensler: A Survey of the Universe's Magnetism" (PDF). Australian Research Council. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  13. Gill, Katynna (7 December 2010). "Professor Bryan Gaensler wins Pawsey Medal". The University of Sydney News. University of Sydney. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  14. "News | The University of Sydney". 2013-03-27. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  15. "Professor Bryan Gaensler wins Scopus Young Researcher Award". The University of Sydney. Retrieved 2 July 2014.

External links

Preceded by
Tan Le
Young Australian of the Year
Succeeded by
Ian Thorpe
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