Who am I?

Greetings! I’m Jacinta Delhaize. I’m an astronomer (or astrophysicist, whichever you prefer!) My expertise is in galaxy evolution and radio astronomy. I try to understand why and how galaxies have changed over the history of the Universe.

I am also a producer and host of a podcast called The Cosmic Savannah. It’s a fortnightly podcast about the awesome telescopes and astronomy research coming out of the African continent. No astronomy knowledge needed to listen. Check it out!

My background

I am a Lecturer and Academic Staff member at the University of Cape Town. I currently teach a 3rd year undergraduate course called “Galactic and Extragalactic Astronomy.”

I previously held two postdoctoral research positions. The first was at the University of Zagreb in Croatia (2014-2018). The second was as a South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) Research Fellow at the University of Cape Town (2018-2022).

I completed my PhD in radio astronomy in 2014 at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, University of Western Australia, and part-time at the University of Oxford. Prior to that I completed a Bachelor of Science with a Physics major at the University of Western Australia.

At Parkes a.k.a. “The Dish” during observations for my PhD work. NSW, Australia

My research

The data I analyse mostly comes from large radio telescopes. At the moment I use data from MeerKAT. MeerKAT is one of the world’s most powerful radio telescopes and is located in the Karoo region of South Africa. I work with two major survey teams called LADUMA and MIGHTEE.

Other telescopes I’ve used throughout my career include the Parkes 64m dish, the Australia Telescope Compact Array and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array.

With these instruments we perform large-scale radio continuum and spectral line surveys of the sky and combine them with information from across the electromagnetic spectrum. Learn more about my research here and see my list of publications here.

Science engagement

Outside of research, I’m very passionate about science communication and astronomy engagement. I think it’s essential to make our science accessible to everyone: including the general public, students, media, policy makers and other scientists. This helps to promote an interest and appreciation for science, the scientific method and critical thinking – which all impact our every day lives. I believe that effective science communication can literally change the world! I even gave a TEDx talk on it!

Along with The Cosmic Savannah podcast, I’ve been involved with many different science engagement initiatives. Learn more about them here.

If you’d like to know more about the many great reasons to communicate astronomy, and how this can have a very meaningful impact on the world, check out my blog post on the topic.

Rocking my fave R2D2 dress during a public lecture in Zagreb, Croatia. Pic thanks to Julien Duval Photography.