Discovering how the universe works

Few things in the universe hold a unique fascination like space, stars, and the creation of the elements. Humans have long gazed towards the sky, searching for meaning and order to the universe around them. Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. It is the study and observation of celestial objects and phenomena, like stars, planets and the Milky Way Galaxy, that lie beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

Astrophysics is concerned not only with the observation of our galaxy but also how the universe originated and how it has evolved (cosmology). Astrophysicists apply the physical laws of microphysical processes to explain astronomical events. These laws determine the lifecycle of stars, planets and galaxies in the universe as well as how the universe has changed with time.

Associated schools, institutes & centres


Our astronomical research focuses on the numerical simulation of binary star mergers, supernova explosions, and nucleosynthesis. Stars are the building blocks of the galaxy. These luminous balls of light helped explorers navigate the seas and now help modern-day scientists understand the universe. When a dying star explodes, it ejects its mass and heavy elements into the surrounding space. Everything on Earth, including life, is composed of the chemical elements produced in stars and supernova explosions, which is what makes astrophysics research important. 

We perform theoretical and observational research using Big Data methodologies to understand:  

  • how stars explode as supernovae 
  • the origin of the elements 
  • gravitational wave sources in the galaxy 
  • interacting binary star systems (binary star evolution). 

Competitive advantage

  • Numerical simulations on the fastest supercomputer (Gadi) in the southern hemisphere.
  • Observations with the world’s most productive ground-based observatory (ESO).
  • Unique group expertise on the binary star progenitors, explosion mechanisms, nucleosynthesis, and remnants of Type Ia supernovae.
  • Publications in leading journals, including Nature, Science, Physical Review Letters, Nature Astronomy, and Astrophysical Journal Letters.
  • Home to two ARC Future Fellows.
  • Invited to write a review (2020) for Astronomy and Astrophysics Reviews (impact factor 11.6) on Models of Type Ia Supernova Progenitors.
  • Participation in several invited talks and reviews at international and national conferences.
  • Members of:

Our researchers

Associate Dean (Research) Warrick Lawson
Associate Dean (Research)
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ARC Future Fellow, Physics & Oceanography Stream Coordinator Ashley Ruiter
ARC Future Fellow, Physics & Oceanography Stream Coordinator
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Lecturer in Astrophysics Simon Murphy
Lecturer in Astrophysics