First International Fellows spend time on campus

Dr David Ottaway, Dr Daniel Sigg, Associate Professor Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar and Associate Professor Russell Brewer.

University of Adelaide's Dr David Ottaway, California Institute of Technology's Dr Daniel Sigg, Purdue University's Associate Professor Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar and University of Adelaide's Associate Professor Russell Brewer.

The first International Fellows of 2024 have been spending time on campus at the University of Adelaide.

Associate Professor Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar, of Purdue University, and Dr Daniel Sigg, California Institute of Technology, have been engaging with the student and staff cohort in their chosen fields since their arrivals in May.

Associate Professor Seigfried-Spellar, a criminology expert with a focus on online child sexual exploitation, is working alongside Associate Professor Russell Brewer, from the University’s Adelaide Cybercrime Laboratory.

“Russell and I met at the European Society of Criminology conference in 2022, and I could see the potential to develop a collaborative tool,” said Associate Professor Seigfried-Spellar, who is based at Purdue University's Department of Computer and Information Technology.

“We both have really strong law enforcement connections, which allows us to create investigative tools that can make a difference in real world problems.”

Associate Professor Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar

Associate Professor Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar, Purdue University.

Associate Professor Seigfried-Spellar previously developed the Chat Analysis Triage Tool (CATT) through a collaboration with the Tippecanoe High Tech Crime Unit and US Internet Crimes Against Children taskforces. This automated software tool analyses chats between minors and offenders to detect high-priority contact-driven offenders.

“I’ve worked with law enforcement in other countries before, but until I got here and spoke to the different agencies across Australia, I didn’t know if the issues we faced were the same,” said Associate Professor Seigfried-Spellar.

“There are a lot of similarities with the challenges law enforcement face when investigating online child sexual exploitation, and I think Russell and I can work together to create something bigger than we ever dreamed of.”Associate Professor Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar, University of Adelaide International Fellow

Associate Professor Brewer said the impact of this relationship, built through the Fellowship, extends beyond the University to the safety of the entire Australian community.

“At the moment, we’re both tackling the problem from different perspectives, but through this fellowship, we can combine our methods to create major change and reduce the number of children exploited,” said Associate Professor Brewer.

Dr Daniel Sigg, California Institute of Technology

Dr Daniel Sigg, California Institute of Technology.

Dr Sigg is an expert in gravitational wave detector instrumentation and has a particular interest in the control of thermal aberrations, which limit the power that is able to circulate through the detectors.

He is also the Lead Scientist at The LIGO Hanford Observatory in Washington, USA, – one of two observatories that form the LIGO laboratory run by the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They are the most sensitive gravitational wave detectors in the world and were responsible for the first detection of gravitational waves in 2015.

Dr Sigg arrived on campus in May to work with Professor David Ottaway and his team at the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing.

“It has been a great opportunity to work with these students,” Dr Sigg said.

"I am impressed with all the work going on here to build a new facility for testing thermal effects on full-sized LIGO mirrors."Dr Daniel Sigg, University of Adelaide International Fellow

“This will be tremendously helpful in the next commissioning period when we will increase the laser power even further," Dr Sigg said.

Dr Ottaway said the visit had many benefits for both institutions.

“It’s been invaluable, particularly for our students, as many look to spend time at The LIGO as part of their work,” Dr Ottaway said.

“There is still a lot of opportunity to continue work together, so we genuinely hope this isn’t the last time he graces our shores.”

The University’s International Fellows Award (IFA) is designed to bring some of the very best research minds from around the globe to Adelaide to work with our researchers and students on key global challenges.

Six Fellowships are available each year to internationally renowned researchers from institutions ranked within the top 100 for research.

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