Impact: From stellar energy, planetary volcanics and asteroid mining to medical dosimetry

Over a 25 year research career at UOW, Honorary Professor Bill Zealey made groundbreaking discoveries in astronomical imaging and wide field astronomy in the study of star forming regions. His study of star forming regions provided the launch pad for later contributions in medical imaging and radiation dosimetry.

The early phases of star formation produce strong supersonic winds from the stars’ poles. Much later, massive stars go supernova and eject a large part of their atmospheres into space. Once again, the huge energies involved and the massive outflow of material significantly affect the star’s surroundings and can trigger new star formation. These massive outflows of matter and energy churn up the surrounding interstellar gas and dust and trigger new rounds of star formation.

Professor Zealey’s research focused on the discovery and energetics of these Bipolar Outflows and Supernova Remnants using survey films from the UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Springs, and later, digital surveys.

Using images from online databases to access imagery, Professor Zealey also studied volcanic features on Venus and Mars. These studies included some of the first work on the characteristics of lava tubes on Venus using Magellan side looking radar and the discovery of volcanic eruptions from below a glacier on the Echus Plateau on Mars.

Professor Zealey also worked with Mark Sonter and Raghu Singh on a landmark feasibility study of asteroid mining. Together they undertook the simulation and testing of cometary materials, the study of possible mining techniques, and the identification of key areas of development, and economic and financial considerations.

With his expertise and knowledge of space radiation, Professor Zealey later focused on the development of quality assurance protocols for the measurement and monitoring of radiotherapy doses.

Working with John van Voorst and GE Medical, he was also instrumental in installing the first CT scanner and Gamma cameras at UOW. These supported a NHMRC pilot program of gamma imaging of targeted therapy as well as the development of training programs for GE Medical technicians and medical physics students.

  • UOW
    Honorary Professor Bill Zealey
    Mark Sonter
    Raghu Singh
    Many Honours and PhD students
    Yang Wang
    John van Voorst