Profile image for Alan Duffy

Professor Alan Duffy

Program Leader SpaceTech Applications at the Data Science Research Institute
PHD Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Manchester, United Kingdom; Masters of Physics, University of Manchester, United Kingdom


I create model universes on supercomputers to uncover the nature of dark matter (a new type of particle that binds galaxies together) and the key physical laws that govern the formation of galaxies. I focus on two extremes of distance, the very close and the very far from us in the Milky Way. The first is understanding cold gas motions and distributions across the sky in millions of galaxies close to us. The second is in the Early Universe during the Epoch of Reionisation, a time when the First Galaxies lit up the Universe. On these supercomputers I create model universes with billions of particles using both SPH (hydrodynamical) simulations as well as N-Body+Semi-Analytic Models. This work is with collaborators nationally (University of Melbourne, University of Western Australia) and internationally (Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands and Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, UK). In addition I have a long standing interest in how to best present these discoveries and simulations to academic and general public audiences; in live talks, class room visits, TV / Radio / Print interviews and shows, to podcasts and youtube clips. Visualisations of the model universes can aid significantly in understanding the physics at play in forming a galaxy. Some of these images/videos I created with colleagues from around the world have been used in a planetarium show, and featured in numerous articles. My role can be best described as doing cutting-edge research, then trying to explain it to as many people of all backgrounds as I can.

Research interests

Advanced Statistics and Big Data; Cosmology; Galaxy Formation; Scientific Computing and Visualisation; Dark Matter; Astronomy; Astrophysics; Physics

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.


Available to supervise honours students.

Fields of Research

  • Cosmology And Extragalactic Astronomy - 020103

Teaching areas



  • 2018, National, Eureka Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research , Australian Museum
  • 2017, National, Victorian Tall Poppy Award , Australian Institute of Physics
  • 2017, Swinburne, VC Award for Higher Education Teaching Excellence (Highly Commended), Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2017, Swinburne, VC Award for Community Engagement , Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2017, Swinburne, Teaching Excellence Award x2 (Physics 10001 and Communication for Scientists), Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2016, National, Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research (National Finalist), Eurekas / Australian Museum
  • 2016, National, Club Melbourne Fellowship (Finalist), Club Melbourne Ambassadors
  • 2015, National, Australian of the Day, Commbank
  • 2013, National, Louise Webster Prize (commendation), Astronomical Society of Australia
  • 2013, National, Fresh Science Award (State Finalist), Science In Public
  • 2012, Other, Best Publication by Early Career Researcher, University of Western Australia
  • 2011, Other, Research Development Award, University of Western Australia
  • 2006, International, Marie Curie Fund (Early Training Scheme), European Union
  • 2004, International, Erasmus Fund (European Exchange Program), European Union
  • 2001, Other, Major Science Award, University of Manchester
  • 2001, Other, Entrance Scholarship, University of Manchester

Further information



Also published as: Duffy, Alan; Duffy, A.; Duffy, A. R.; Duffy, Alan R.
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

  • 2019: Construction of SABRE, Australia's first full-scale dark matter detector *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme
  • 2019: Immersive Science III: Astronomy for All Australians *; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
  • 2019: Measuring critical background in the Australian search for dark matter *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2018: Full scale detector system for the first Australian dark matter experiment *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme
  • 2018: Immersive Science II: Revealing the Invisible Universe *; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
  • 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
  • 2017: Immersive Science: The Next Frontier in Australian Astronomy *; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
  • 2017: The First Southern Hemisphere Experiment on Dark Matter *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme
  • 2014: ANDS/NeCTAR eResearch Infrastructure Project, Theoretical Astrophysical Observatory (TAO) *; Astronomy Australia Limited

* Chief Investigator