A Radio Astronomer Investigating Galaxy Evolution

Meet Jacinta Delhaize, 25, one of the up-and-coming physicists attending this year’s Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Name: Jacinta Delhaize
Age: 25
Born: Perth, Western Australia
Nationality: Australian
Current position: Ph.D. student, University of Western Australia, International Centre of Radio Astronomy Research
Education: Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Western Australia
What is your field of research?
I use large radio telescopes to study the evolution of galaxies in the universe.
What drew you to physics, and to that research area in particular?
I have always been fascinated by the beautiful photos produced by telescopes like Hubble. The more I learned about physics and maths, the more fascinated I became in what was going on in the pictures as it revealed a whole new aspect. I found it irresistible to discover more, and so I chose to study astrophysics.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would love to work with the Square Kilometer Array, a huge radio telescope array that will be built across Australia/New Zealand and Southern Africa. When it is completed in around 10 years’ time, it will have the capability to detect some of the first stars formed after the big bang.
Who are your scientific heroes?
One of my scientific heroes is Ruby Payne-Scott. She was the first female radio astronomer in Australia and she was a very intelligent and inspirational lady. This year we celebrated what would have been her 100th birthday.
What activities outside of physics do you most enjoy?
I have been doing ballet since I was about 6 years old and more recently have also taken up swing dancing.
What do you hope to gain from this year’s Lindau meeting?
The motto of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings is “Educating, inspiring, connecting scientific generations.” These are precisely the ways that I hope this exciting meeting will contribute to my life and career. The Nobel laureates are the best possible people to inspire and advise my generation, and it will be a great privilege to interact with them and learn from their wisdom. The meeting will also be a unique opportunity to network with students from different countries and disciplines to make new, valuable friends and colleagues.
Are there any Nobelists whom you are particularly excited to meet or learn from at Lindau?
I am very excited to learn from the three attending laureates who also work in the field of astrophysics and galaxy evolution. These are Brian Schmidt, an Australian astrophysicist who shared the Nobel Prize in 2011 for discovering the accelerating expansion of the universe, and George Smoot and John Mather, who shared the prize for their characterization of the cosmic microwave background.
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