Associate Professor Alan Duffy
I use 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.
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