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Research interests

Professor Richard McDermid leads an active research group studying the stellar populations and dynamics of galaxies in order to understand how they have formed and evolved over the lifetime of the Universe. He and his group have pioneered the use of combining orbital dynamical models with the chemical and age information of stellar populations, allowing the assembly history of galaxies to be unveiled, and connections to our own Milky Way to be explored. He is Director of the Macquarie Research Centre of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Astrophotonics (MQAAAstro), and leader of the Macquarie Node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D). He has been awarded 'high citation' status by Clarivate Web of Science for 2021 and 2022, and was recently recognised as the leading national research contributor for astronomy in The Australian’s Research Awards 2023.

Professor McDermid has over 20 years experience combining astronomical research with instrumentation development for major optical telescopes. He has led and participated in major international research collaborations and surveys, including SAURON, Atlas3D (co-lead), SAMI, SDSS-IV and MAGPI. Professor McDermid has also played key roles in developing new instrumentation for major observatories, in particular using integral field spectroscopy and adaptive optics. These include the MUSE IFU (ESO-VLT, as Deputy Instrument Scientist 2004-2007), OASIS IFU with GLAS LGS-AO (WHT, 2006-2007), Hector multi-IFU (AAT, 2013- present), and GHOST high resolution spectrograph (Gemini, 2013-present). He is currently the Project Scientist for "MAVIS" - a revolutionary new instrument that will provide near-diffraction limited optical imaging and IFU spectroscopy on the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), and the first VLT facility instrument built by an Australian-led consortium.

Professor McDermid regularly serves on academic and observatory-related committees at the national and international level (e.g. the Australian  Astronomy Limited Science Advisory Committee chair, the Magellan Observatory Science Advisory Committee), and chairing time allocation committees for Australian national and international facilities, including the ESO Observing Programmes Committee (OPC). He has also chaired the Macquarie Physics and Astronomy Department's Diversity and Inclusion committee, and is a member of the Macquarie University Ally Network.

External positions

Executive Board Member, Treasurer, Australasian Dark Sky Alliance

20 Aug 2019 → …


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