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Associate Professor Jeff Cooke

ARC Future Fellow


I am currently leading research in the areas of high redshift galaxies (in emission and absorption), high redshift supernovae, and fast transients. The fast transient work includes the search for electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational waves as part of the Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), in which I am a Chief Investigator.

I conduct and collaborate on large, deep imaging and spectroscopic surveys to detect and study galaxies and supernovae at high redshift. The surveys aim to better understand galaxy evolution, their properties and environments, the supernovae within them, and the impact galaxies had on cosmic reionisation. Some highlights of the many programs I am leading are that we have identified a previously overlooked population of galaxies (the Lyman continuum galaxies) that may have been responsible for the bulk of ionising photons in the early Universe, we have uncovered surprising relationships between the spectral features of galaxies and a number of internal and environmental properties, and we have observed absorption systems illuminated by background galaxies that have provided the first measurements of their most fundamental properties (size and mass) which have remained elusive in the 40 years since their first discovery.

In addition, I pioneered a technique to detect supernovae in high redshift galaxies and at distances far greater than has been previously achieved, including super-luminous supernovae, some of which, may be observational examples of a long-theorised third type of supernova based on the pair-instability process. Our most distant discoveries occurred when the universe was only about 10% its current age. Because many of the first generation of stars (Population III stars) are believed to result in pair-instability supernovae, we now have the capability and may be detecting the deaths of the very first stars.

I developed the Deeper, Wider, Faster (DWF) program to search for fast transients, such as supernova shock breakouts, kilonovae, counterparts to fast radio bursts (FRBs), and other events with seconds-to-hours durations that have remained elusive largely due to instrument and technological barriers. Many of these events are predicted to generate gravitational waves. DWF is a new approach that overcomes previous obstacles by coordinating simultaneous, fast-cadenced, deep, multi-wavelength observations using major facilities (e.g., Parkes, Molonglo, Swift space telescope, CTIO DECam), processing the data in seconds using the Swinburne supercomputer, and identifying fast transients in real-time using advanced software, machine learning, and visualisation technology.

The real-time analysis enables deep, rapid ToO spectroscopy of the events and their host galaxies acquired within minutes of detection using 8m-class telescopes (e.g., Gemini-South and potentially Keck and VLT). Finally, DWF employs a network of 1-10m facilities for hours-to-days later follow-up imaging and deep spectroscopy, that includes the SALT, AAT, ATCA, SkyMapper, AST3 in the Antarctic, and the Zadko telescopes. DWF aims to resolve the FRB mystery with its multi-wavelength, fast real-time analysis approach and is a key OzGrav program to search for electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational waves.

Research interests

Advanced Statistics and Big Data; Big Bang Cosmology; Black Holes and Galaxy Structure; Cosmology; Galaxy Formation; Star and Planet Formation; Data Visualisation; Human Computer Interactions; Strategic & Transformative Design: Human-Object-Environment Interaction

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Coordinating Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Characterising Lyman Continuum Galaxies :

High Redshift Superluminous Supernovae: Theory, Observations and Implications

Multiwavelenth Counterparts to Fast Radio Bursts, Rapid Transients, and Multi-Messinger Astronomy

Fields of Research

  • Cosmology And Extragalactic Astronomy - 020103
  • General Relativity And Gravitational Waves - 020105
  • Astronomical And Space Instrumentation - 020102

Teaching areas

Advanced Statistics and Big Data;Big Bang Cosmology;Black Holes and Galaxy Structure;Cosmology;Galaxy Formation;Star and Planet Formation


  • 2014, Swinburne, Vice-Chancellor's Research Excellence Award, Swinburne University
  • 2013, International, Wall of Fame Inaugural Inductee, Westville High School
  • 2013, National, ARC Future Fellowship, ARC
  • 2009, International, McCue Fellowship Award, University of California, Irvine
  • 2006, International, McCue Fellowship Award, University of California, Irvine
  • 2002, International, Senior Teaching Assistant Outstanding Service Award, University of California, San Diego
  • 2000, International, Teaching Assistant Excellence Award in Physics, University of California, San Diego
  • 1997, International, Outstanding Graduate Award in Astronomy, San Diego State University
  • 1996, International, Lucas Scholarship Award, San Diego State University

Further information



Also published as: Cooke, Jeff; Cooke, J.; Cooke, Jeffrey
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, contact us to update.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2017: ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery *; ARC Centre of Excellence Scheme
  • 2015: Deeper, wider, faster: Optical counterparts to the fastest bursts in the sky. *; Access to Major Research Facilities
  • 2014: Access to Major Research Facilities 2014 - Jeff Cooke *; Access to Major Research Facilities
  • 2014: Detecting the deaths of the first stars: Investigating the physical processes in the early Universe *; ARC Future Fellowships
  • 2014: Visiting Researcher Scheme 2014 - Dr John O'Meara *; Visiting Researcher Scheme
  • 2012: Detecting the deaths of the first stars *; ANSTO Access to Major Research Facilities Program
  • 2011: First Probe of the Physical Processes of Cosmic Reionisation (Subaru) & Probing Stellar and Galactic Processes with z > 2 Ultraviolet-Luminous Supernovae (Keck) *; ANSTO Access to Major Research Facilities Program

* Chief Investigator