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Professor Jeff Cooke



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.  These areas of research are in conjunction with my work as an Associate Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO-3D).

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.  This work requires use of the Hubble Space Telescope and collaborative grants with the USA.

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.  This work involves over 50 major observatories on every continent and in space and collaboration with over 30 of the most prominent and relevant universities and institutions worldwide.

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

Cosmology; Galaxy Formation; Scientific Computing and Visualisation; Data Visualisation; Human Computer Interactions; Strategic & Transformative Design: Human-Object-Environment Interaction; Supernovae; Gravitational Waves; Fast Transients; Cosmic Reionisation; Absorption-line Systems

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Cosmic Reionisation: Characterising Lyman Continuum Galaxies

Data Science Techniques to detect fast transients and counterparts to gravitational waves 

Exploring the High Energy Dynamic Universe

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

Superluminous Supernovae in the Early Universe:

Fields of Research

  • Stellar Astronomy And Planetary Systems - 510109
  • Astronomical Instrumentation - 510102
  • Cosmology And Extragalactic Astronomy - 510103

Teaching areas

Galaxy Formation;Introductory Astronomy;Stellar evolution;Cosmic Reionisation;Large-Scale Structure;Supernovae;Gravitational Waves and Electromagnetic Detection;Absorption-line Systems


  • 2017, Swinburne, Vice-Chancellor's Research Excellence Award, Swinburne University
  • 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, 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, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2021: Exploring the Dynamic Universe with DREAMS *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme
  • 2020: Deeper, Wider, Faster program: Detecting the fastest bursts in the Universe *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2019: Keck Wide-Field Imager: A UV-optimized prime focus wide-field imager for Keck *; W.M. Keck Observatory
  • 2017: ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions *; ARC Centre of Excellence Scheme
  • 2017: ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery *; ARC Centre of Excellence Scheme

* Chief Investigator

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