TSP: Inspirer and the Inspired

Professor Bryan Gaensler
Inspirer, astrophysicist and former TSP student

Having always been fascinated by science ever since he was a small child, Professor Bryan Gaensler has come full circle from inspired TSP student to inspirer of the next generation of TSP students.

“There's obviously a generational gap between me and the TSP students of today, but one thing we have in common is that terrifying but addictive feeling of doing research – of stepping off into the unknown for the very first time,” said Professor Gaensler.

“It’s fantastic to be able to help the current TSP students in their research journey. As a supervisor, the TSP lets us be part of a student's very first exposure to research, and it's a great way to inspire students to complete Honours research and PhD studies as they reach those stages.”

Professor Gaensler’s own scientific journey began with the fascinating science books his parents bought him, sparking his interest in science from age three. His decision to study science at university was inspired by a science excursion in his senior years in high school.

“In year 11, my science teacher took us on an excursion to the School of Chemistry at the University of Sydney, where we did some X-ray crystallography and determined the crystal structure of some solids. That confirmed that I wanted to study science at university and that I wanted to do this at the University of Sydney,” explained Professor Gaensler.

During his Bachelor of Science degree, Professor Gaensler was a TSP student and completed all his TSP projects in Physics.

“I always planned to major in and do my Honours research in Physics, so I did all my TSP research in Physics. The best part of the TSP for me as a student was participating in the writing of a scientific journal paper – my very first paper!”

“The TSP is unique in that it lets you do real research from day one. Not just reproducing existing experiments where there's an expected result, but doing something genuinely new,” said Professor Gaensler.

His students regularly cite him as an inspiring supervisor, lecturer and mentor.

“I'd like to think it's because I am enthusiastic, and because I show them how to take the equations and theories they've learned in class and apply them to interesting and novel situations,” said Professor Gaensler.

“It’s thrilling to see students like Alison being inspired through the TSP to conduct research that they might not have known they would be interested in. As Alison says, she hadn’t intended to major in Physics and do her Honours in Physics, but TSP projects early on in her degree opened up the world of astronomy for her.”