Australian Science Superheroes – Alan Duffy

During National Science Week in August 2016, Australia’s Chief Scientist launched the #5ScientistPledge to recognise Australian Scientists. Now, we’re shining a light on some of these Australian science superheroes with a new tag – #AusScienceHeroes.

Check back regularly for new profiles!

Alan Duffy

Dr Alan Duffy, Research Fellow, Swinburne

University of Technology, VIC


1) What is your science superpower?

I create baby universes inside supercomputers to discover the ingredients of our universe, from things we can see – like atoms – to mysterious dark matter, which we can’t see but that holds the galaxy together.

What would happen if stars like our sun could explode? My simulated universes can show you!

2) The year is 2030. How has life changed as a result of your research?

Research has revealed the nature of the missing dark matter that outweighs everything we can see five times over. Combined with new telescopes and detectors in Australia, dark matter experiments now guide particle physics into new insights into our universe on the smallest of scales.

3) What drew you to science in the first place?

It wasn’t until I read Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” that I realised what I was being taught in physics was actually the toolkit to explore black holes ripping through space time, or invisible clouds of mysterious dark matter. How could you *not* want to go and study that?!

4) When you’re not wearing your science superhero cape, what do you get up to?

When not researching science I’m chatting about it on TV with ABC Breakfast or Ten’s The Project. I also love sports, so I will either be playing touch rugby (union without the dangerous tackles!), or watching rugby union or AFL (go Hawks!).