SIfA student Matt Keen wins the Bok Prize 2018 for the best Honours thesis

12 June 2018

On June 7th, the Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA) announced the recipients of the 2018 ASA Awards. This year the Bok Prize for best for outstanding research in astronomy by an Honours student goes to Matthew Keen who completed his Honours at the University of Sydney. Mr Keen follows the steps of 10 others SIfA students who won the Bok Medal since 1989.

Named after Bart Jan Bok, director of Mount Stromlo Observatory from 1957 to 1966 who promoted the undergraduate and graduate study of astronomy in Australia, the Bok Prize is awarded to an Honours student at an Australia university, in recognition of their outstanding research in astronomy.

This year, the award goes to SIfA student Matt Keen. Under the supervision of Prof Tim Bedding and Dr Tanda Li, Mr Keen completed his thesis, titled "Asteroseismology of Subgiant Stars: A Study of Mixed Mode Oscillation".

Many stars, including the Sun, are observed to pulsate, and the expansions and contractions in the outer layers cause changes in the luminosities. Asteroseismology uses the oscillations of pulsating stars to study their internal structures.

In his thesis, Matt Keen analyses the natural oscillation frequencies within stars to reveal their internal properties. In particular, his work focuses on a specific class of stars, subgiants, to produce stellar models that combine mass, metallicity and age, leading to a better characterisation of these objects.

Alongside Matt's award, Dr Caroline Foster, ASTRO3D Fellow at the University of Sydney, received an honourable mention for her paper "The SAMI Galaxy Survey: the intrinsic shape of kinematically selected galaxies" published as Foster et al.,( 2017, MNRAS, 472, 966).

The prize winners will be presenting their research at the ASA Scientific Meeting, 24-29 June hosted by Swinburne University.