Lyle Roberts

Australian National University
Canberra, Australia


Principal Investigator: Dr. Friedemann Freund

About me:

I have always wanted to know how everything around me works. This is why I fell in love with physics and engineering. Physics has granted me the knowledge to understand how things work at a fundamental level; whereas engineering has given me the skills needed to apply that knowledge in the practical world. I feel immense joy when learning something new, as if I am slowly unraveling the universe’s mysteries one thread at a time.

I am a confident, enthusiastic and highly energetic person with a universally compatible personality. I have always enjoyed meeting new people, learning from and connecting with them. My ability to communicate and passion for teaching is demonstrated by my ongoing position as a tutor at the Australian National University (ANU); a position requiring exceptional interpersonal skills.

At the age of 23 I have an entire career ahead of me, which is both frightening and exhilarating. I am currently starting a PhD at the ANU with the Centre for Gravitational Physics developing a technology that is of significant interest to both NASA-JPL and the European Space Agency (ESA). The reason for pursuing a PhD is because it will allow me to work closely with and learn from some of the best scientists in the world at Australia’s premier university. The sensation of working in the space engineering industry at the frontier of technological development is quite literally out of this world, and once I have completed this phase of my education, the next step is obvious: to work at NASA with talented and motivated engineers and scientists to help bring about humanity’s continuing journey into space.


At the end of 2011 I graduated from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Physics and a Bachelor of Engineering with First Class Honours. My background as an Engineer is in automation, sensing and control, focusing primarily on real-time digital signal processing techniques employed using field-programmable gate-array (FPGA) technology. My background as a Physicist is in applied optics and communications. My interests, however, are far broader than my current expertise. Quite simply, I want to know how everything works, and this is what motivates my learning more than anything.

At the moment I am studying for a PhD developing a technology called an Optical Phased Array, which combines state-of-the-art digital signal processing capabilities with applied optical physics.


During my final year of undergraduate studies at the ANU in 2011 I completed an Honour’s project titled: “High-Speed Digitally Enhanced Heterodyne Interferometry” under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Shaddock. This project embodied everything I love about physics and engineering, and was a perfect amalgamation of both applied optics and DSP.

In 2011 I was assigned the position of Project Manager for a 21 person group project intended to expose final year engineering students to real world industrial projects. My teams’ project, titled ‘Project Sentinel’, was tasked with the full system design of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) bird deterrent system, designed to be used at vineyards and orchards around the world. My performance during this project demonstrates my innate ability to lead, manage and inspire a team of diverse technical backgrounds and abilities. Managing Project Sentinel taught me the importance of maintaining strong emotional intelligence, as well as identifying the best ways to motivate and inspire a team. My success as project manager can be attributed to my energetic presence in the team environment. My ability to motivate and empower the team through the transference of enthusiasm created an enjoyable team dynamic for all members.

In 2010 I was employed by Anewtech Systems in Singapore as an intern Systems Engineer. I was a member of various technical development, project management and sales teams that focused on the development of smart home and office technologies. During my internship I was exposed to various high-stakes projects, where I established myself as a confident and energetic team member. The team dynamic at Anewtech Systems was unlike any I had ever experienced before, allowing me to impart a foreign approach to project development that was well received by the company.