Meet our lord of the rings

By Sonia Isaacs

On occasion you come across a teaching professional who holds such an obvious excitement and passion for their subject matter, it inspires you to want to discover more! Glasshouse Christian College Head of Science, Fenton Doolan’s passion has just resulted in his work being published in the prestigious Harvard & Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics Journals.
Talking to Fenton about this remarkable achievement and you are immediately drawn into his passion, but put at ease in his ability to take a complex subject – in this case, astrophysics – and discuss it in a way that makes it seem accessible, exciting, and interesting.
Subscribing to the theory that basic science explanations are best, has lead Fenton on his own journey of discovery.
Fenton’s groundbreaking research argues the ‘spokes’ observed in Saturn’s B-ring may consist of a magnetic type of carbon called pyrolytic carbon deposited onto silicate grains by the process of Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD)- recognised internationally.
It took four years of research, for Fenton’s unique theory offering ‘an alternative explanation of the spokes observed in Saturn’s’ rings’ to find a publisher and has now opened up a world of possibilities for further research and interest in the global science community.
Fenton said he had always held a fascination with astrophysics from a young age.
“I remember being interested in astronomy and science from a very young age, and even at three years old being mesmerised by the magnetic rocks I found in my Grandma’s front yard. Interestingly when I was a kid, I always said I wanted to be an Astrophysicist when I grew up!” he laughingly explained.
Fenton said he initially got into physics research by chance around eight years ago when he wanted to discover more about gravity and possible explanations for the force. He had reached out to Russian scientist Vladimir Tchernyi who had introduced Fenton to his own studies of Saturn’s rings which sparked Fenton’s initial interest and lead him to read most of the research conducted in the last 40 years concerning the ‘spokes’ that appear in Saturn’s B-ring. Fenton said he spends an hour or two a night reading articles on the internet related to Astronomy and Astrophysics, and lately he has been particularly interested in the findings of the James Webb telescope. “My research suggests that Saturn’s rings may be an electromagnetic phenomenon. Just this last week scientists have confirmed that the James Webb telescope has detected carbon grains in the early universe which was totally unexpected but wonderfully backs my theory!” said Fenton.