Researcher biography

I am a Research Fellow in Cosmology based in the School of Mathematics and Physics. I work on making maps of the positions and motions of millions of galaxies in our Universe to uncover how it has evolved since the Big Bang. Current observations suggest 95% of our Universe consists of ellusive Dark Matter and Dark Energy; we can detect these by the influence they have on the light from galaxies, stars and that permeates the background Universe itself, but they don't emit light themselves and we have no idea yet what they are. My research seeks to uncover these using the largest galaxy surveys in the world.

I was or currently am a member of nearly all the largest surveys:

  • The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Baryon Acoustic Oscillation survey - mapped the positions of over 1,000,000 galaxies using the Sloan Telescope.
  • The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) survey being carried out on The 4-m Mayall Telescope in Arizona which will get positions for over 40,000,000 galaxies
  • The Dark Energy Survey (DES) that has finished taking images of over 300,000,000 galaxies using the Blanco Telescope in Chile
  • The Taipan Galaxy Survey a planned survey of over 1,000,000 galaxy positions and motions using the UK-Schmidt Telescope right here in Australia (Siding Spring in NSW)
  • The WALLABY survey using the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder also based in Australia (Murchison, WA), which will make a blind survey of over 500,000 galaxies
  • The 4-Metre Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope which is currently under planning for construction in Chile.

My research makes use of state-of-the art computing techniques to simulate the distributions of galaxies from these surveys on supercomputers. I then analyse these distributions using different statistical techniques to compare to the real data. The properties of Dark Matter and Dark Energy and all the other things that make up our Universe can then be extracted by modelling these statistics with theoretical models, or looking for discrepancies between the simulations and the data.

Academic Background

  • Undergraduate: MPhys 1st Class Honours - University of Sussex, 2008-2012
  • Postgraduate: PhD - University of Portmouth, 2012-2016
  • Research Associate - University of Western Australia, 2015-2019
  • Research Fellow in Cosmology - University of Queensland, 2019-

Areas of research