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Astrophysicist/Cosmologist, Australian National University

I am an Astrophysicist/Cosmologist, and currently a Fellow at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mt Stromlo Observatory and Senior Lecturer at the National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University.

I have my hand in a variety of things, but the majority of my work involves exploding stars called supernova, and cosmology, the study of the universe. A certain type of supernova, called a type Ia, can be used as a standard candle that can trace our universe's history.

For this work, I am involved with a number of supernova surveys. I have been working on the ESSENCE Project, The CfA Supernova Search, The Carnegie Supernova Project and also using Mt Stromlo's new SkyMapper telescope. I am one of the leads of the Kepler Extra-Galactic Survey, KEGS, a Kepler Space Telescope Key Program, to understand why and how stars blow. I am leading a project to build a network of ultraviolet telescopes in the upper atmosphere which are being built at Mt Stromlo.

In addition to research, I frequently give talks to school groups and the general public about astronomy and have regular segments on various radio stations talking about astronomy news and events.

Among other things, I have developed a series of astronomy coins in conjunction with the Royal Australian Mint, consulted on science fiction movies, advised on astronomy-themed art projects, and have been featured in specials on the National Geographic Channel.

I am currently in the process of writing my first popular book and producing a Massive Open Online Course.


  • –present
    Astronomer and outreach officer, Australian National University