My Melbourne with Alan Duffy

October 13 / 122

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What’s you title?

My official title is Post-Doc Research Fellow. I work in the School of Physics as an astronomer and I spend my time trying to figure out how galaxies like our milky way came about.

How long have you been here?

I’ve been here just about a year, which is long enough to realise just how enormous this campus is. I keep discovering new places every day. It’s a vast campus.

What’s your favourite thing so far?

My favourite thing has to be the amazing food and coffee that you get around here. Carlton is incredible. This campus is beautiful but the surroundings are even better.

What does your regular day look like?

To investigate how galaxies form, you create a little model universe, which sounds very megalomaniac, but you create one on a super computer and you just watch a galaxy form. You put everything in that you think you know. So that means I spend a lot of time on the computer, logged into super computers around the world. As a result of that, I’m in meetings with collaborators here in Melbourne, across Australia and indeed, across the world. So a lot of meetings, emails and time spent on the computer. Occasionally I try to include some outreach talks as well to keep myself sane.

Where do you buy your coffee on campus?

At the Potter. I’ll give a shout out to all the baristas at the Potter. You guys have got me through some many tough, tired mornings. You have my thanks.

Can you share a piece of advice you have received?

I think the best advice I’ve ever heard was from Neil Degrasse Tyson, who is an incredible astrophysicist over in New York. He basically said, ‘don’t worry about being great, just try and be better each day and then one day you will wake up and realise just how good you’ve gotten.’

As an expat, have you adopted a football team?

Absolutely. The Hawks. Go the mighty Hawks. My girlfriend’s father had a very serious chat with me when we started dating and made it very clear which team I would be supporting. Now they’ve won, which is pretty nice.

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