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Professor Tara Murphy is the Head of School of Physics at the University of Sydney. Her area of research is radio astronomy, and in particular radio transients. Her team played a key role in the detection of radio emission from the first neutron star merger detected by LIGO, GW170817.

Tara is leading the VAST project: An ASKAP Survey for Variables and Slow Transients. This project is investigating astronomical objects that vary on rapid timescales. These objects act as a laboratory for studying extreme physics. VAST will allow us to answer questions about the formation of black holes, the missing mass in our Galaxy, and the origin of many exotic objects that burst and flicker in the distant universe. Tara is also working on transients surveys with the Murchison Widefield Array, a low frequency SKA pathfinder.


  • 2019–present
    Professor, University of Sydney
  • 2016–2018
    Associate professor, University of Sydney
  • 2010–2015
    Senior lecturer, University of Sydney
  • 2006–2009
    ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellow, The University of Sydney


  • 2004 
    The University of Edinburgh, PhD (Astrophysics)
  • 1999 
    The University of Sydney, Bachelor of Science (Advanced) (Honours)

Grants and Contracts

  • 2019
    Radio follow-up of gravitational wave events
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    ARC Discovery Project
  • 2016
    The radio transient sky in real time
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    ARC Future Fellow
  • 2011
    Extreme Events: Mining the Radio Sky for Gamma-ray Bursts with Intelligent Algorithms
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    ARC Discovery Project
  • 2010
    New Dimensions in Radio Astronomy: Mining Sparse Datasets with the Australian SKA Pathfinder
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    ARC Super Science

Research Areas

  • Astronomical And Space Sciences (0201)
  • Galactic Astronomy (020104)
  • Cosmology And Extragalactic Astronomy (020103)
  • Artificial Intelligence And Image Processing (0801)