Axon - Have Your School Meet Our Scientists


Axon connects UNSW Scientists to primary and high school classrooms across Australia. Inspired by the popular Skype-A-Scientist program in the United States Axon will connect UNSW Scientists with schools via video conferencing. This program will highlight the fascinating work and career pathways our diverse scientists have undertaken. It gives students the opportunity to engage with leading experts and ask questions about specific disciplines and journeys into science.

This program is currently in its pilot phase with seven wonderful scientists from UNSW featured below. This pilot is in collaboration with the ASPIRE program at UNSW. Our partnership with ASPIRE for this program means that one key aim is to connect with ASPIRE Schools. However, we are keen to engage with any interested Australian schools.  

Feel free to express your interest in arranging an Axon Session with one of our scientists by filling out this form.

If you have any questions please email

See our featured scientists below

Karly Turner

Karly grew up in various towns in Queensland, including Cairns, Mt. Isa, Townsville and Brisbane which gave her insight into the challenges of coming from a regional background. Karly completed high school in Brisbane before starting a dual Bachelor of Science/Arts degree at UQ where she majored in Zoology and Psychology. Though she originally wanted to be a vet she didn’t enjoy the work in practice. Karly credits great science teachers and early opportunities for her passion for science. Karly is a behavioural neuroscientist and during my PhD I developed a task for measuring attentional deficits in rodents that is now being used by a pharmaceutical company for the development of new medications to treat ADHD. She received an Early Career Fellowship in Cambridge, has completed the first two years of the fellowship and moved to UNSW earlier this year. Karly has two kids and is passionate about opening opportunities in science for others! 

Find out about Karly and her research here!

Angela Moles

Angela studies the ways plants grow in different environments and currently researches how introduced species are adapting to life in Australia. Before beginning her journey to Science Angela first thought she wanted to be a vet. After changing her mind, she started a biology degree at university unsure of the end goal but picking subjects which interested her most. She fell into being a plant ecologist and completed her PhD at Macquarie University. After a variety of postdoctoral positions, she now runs the Big Ecology Lab at UNSW, Sydney, where she gets to supervise the most amazing students, teach undergraduates about how cool plants are and do fun things like outreach! 

Find out more about Angela and her research here!

Daniel Mansfield

Daniel is a mathematician currently looking at how geometry was used in ancient Babylon. This involves reading original mathematical texts written in Akkadian on clay tablets from museums and libraries around the world. His pathway to this research was through my teaching. Daniel was trying to find examples of old mathematics to inspire his students and that is where he found his first Babylonian mathematical text. 

Find out more about Daniel and his research here!

Anna Wang
Anna Wang
Anna researches biophysics and the origins of life. She went to public schools in Sydney then the University of Sydney before going on to Harvard University to secure her PhD in Applied Physics. She then was funded by NASA to do astrobiology research before returning to Sydney and running her own research group at UNSW. 

Find out more about Anna and her research here!

Dennis Stello

Photo of Dennis stello

Dennis works with NASA to find planets around other stars and to measure the ringing of sound inside stars to better understand how this work. He got hooked on astronomy during an astronomy-themed project at school when he was 13 years old. Dennis took several maths, physics and chemistry courses at high school before going on to university focusing on maths and physics and astronomy. He moved to Australia to pursue a PhD in astronomy and worked at the University of Sydney before starting at UNSW as an Associate Professor. 

Find out more about Dennis and his research here!

Sophie Primig

Sophie is a Physical Metallurgist which means that she is interested alloys. Alloys are mixtures of metals (e.g. nickel) with other chemical elements. These elements are added to achieve better properties, e.g. hardness and strength. In her work, she spends a lot of time thinking about ways how we can change the way we process alloys. After completing high school in Austria  Sophie decided to study Materials Science & Engineering at MU Leoben (Austria), a small but prestigious university with a focus on mining. In her third year, she landed a research assistantship in a Physical Metallurgy group with close linkages to industrial partners. After completing a Masters, PhD and two short postdocs she worked for two years as an academic before coming to UNSW in 2015. 

Find out about Sophie and her research here!

Benjamin Newell


Benjamin is a Psychologist. He studied Biology, Physics and Chemistry at A-Level in high-school (UK) then a degree in Psychology from Nottingham University and a PhD from UNSW. His current work is the culmination of many years investigating what drives people to make the judgments and decisions they do. He tries to apply findings to financial, environmental, medical and forensic contexts.

Find out about Ben and his research here!