Future Assembly 2016

Future Assembly ran for two years and was pitched as Australia's emergent technology festival. Its aim was to bring together Melbourne's diverse tech community and showcase mind-blowing, cutting edge technologies and ideas, through thought-provoking talks and exhibits. Since 2017, the event has been superseded by Pause Fest. Future Assembly 2016 was held on the 2nd & 3rd December 2016, at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds.

December 2016 | melbourne


The Event

I spoke about data-driven discovery and the most ambitious telescopes ever built. The idea was to kickstart a discussion about the next-generation astronomical facilities and telescopes, how they are driving new technologies, and how they are changing the way astronomers approach data–intensive research. I also wanted to highlight some of the fantastic projects being led by Australian researchers, starting with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Anticipating a diverse audience, I kept this talk quite general, and created this page for those who wanted more information. It's essentially a curated selection of videos from the SKA, LSST, GMT, JWST, and other NASA projects projects. I've also included links to the official project websites. I also had the opportunity to chat with Girl Geek Academy CEO, Sarah Moran, as part of That Startup Show.


The Talk

Launching in 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope will be the premier space observatory, replacing the Hubble Space Telescope and serving a new generation of astronomers worldwide. High up in the foothills of the Andes, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will image the entire night sky, every few days, for an entire decade. In Australia and South Africa, the Square Kilometre Array—the Ultimate Big-Data project—will be be largest radio-telescope ever constructed, driving technological development worldwide. These "time machines” will enable to astronomers to study the dynamic universe in unprecedented detail, expanding our knowledge of the early universe, and looking back to where it all began. Each has its own set of technological challenges. Each requires innovative solutions to handle and analyse immense amounts of data. Their scientific discoveries will inspire astronomers and the public for decades to come. Join me in an exploration of the most ambitious technical and data-driven telescopes ever built.

"but I want to know more!…"


Next- Generation


What did the Universe look like when the first galaxies formed?

What is dark matter?

Does life exist elsewhere in the Universe?

These are some of the big questions astronomers around the world are trying to answer. 
Along the way new technologies are developed for a plethora of scientific fields, or adapted for use by industry.

Everyone wins.


The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) 

Thousands of people, for almost two decades, accomplished the construction of the telescope element of the largest space telescope ever created. The optical and science segment of the James Webb Space Telescope stands complete in one of the largest cleanrooms in the world, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Deployment In Detail

This video shows in-depth what will happen when James Webb Space Telescope deploys after launch.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


Utilizing James Webb Space Telescope technology for Topographical Mapping

Telescope Innovations Improve Speed, Accuracy of Eye Surgery (Health and Medicine) Grades 9-12 -- Our video describes the mirror-testing technology developed for JWST as applied to LASIK eye surgery as well as our spinoff innovation, a device designed to advance 3D topographical mapping.

Inside the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) 

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is a wide-field reflecting telescope that will digitally scan the entire available sky every few nights from its mountain top location in Chile. LSST was the top-ranked large ground-based initiative in the 2010 National Academy of Sciences decadal survey in astronomy and astrophysics and received its US federal construction start in July 2012.


The Square Kilometre Array – SKA  (South Africa & Australia)

What did the Universe look like when the first galaxies formed? What is dark matter? And is there life out there? These are some of the big questions astronomers around the world are trying to answer. But to answer them, they need a machine unlike any other. A time machine, an IT machine.

Hubble at 25 & the James Webb Space Telescope

NASA Astrophysicist Dr. Amber Straughn discusses the 25th anniversary of the Hubble telescope's launch as well as the construction and plans for the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2018. Presented on January 7, 2015 at the Museum of Flight.


Crazy Engineering: Starshade/Coronagraph

Sometimes light just gets in the way. A look at two technologies that block starlight to give telescopes a better view of distant Earth-like planets. These could be used in conjunction with WFIRST (or similar), NASA's Wide-field Infrared Space Telescope.