New UP Postdoctoral Fellow Joins IDIA

We are excited once again to announce that IDIA is proud to welcome a new Postdoctoral Fellow who will be joining the University of Pretoria. Since joining the partnership in 2018, the University of Pretoria has grown its research, researchers and science in the IDIA-supported project “Artificial Intelligence enhanced wide-field VLBI surveys: precursor science to the full SKA”.

Dr. Jack Radcliffe joins the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy through the support of a South African Radio Astronomy Observatory fellowship. Dr. Radcliffe, under the guidance of Prof. Deane, will be involved in the development of new data processing techniques based on artificial intelligence, which will be applicable beyond the field of astronomy.  Dr. Radcliffe has expertise in surveys using Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) to provide the sharpest images of the Universe! Dr. Radcliffe uses the VLBI to trace active super-massive black holes (SMBHs) at the centre of galaxies; and also investigates the interplay between theseSMBHs and the stars being formed in galaxies across cosmic time.

During his tenure at University of Pretoria he will be working on the MIGHTEE project, a key MeerKAT science project investigating the distant Universe, and one of IDIA-supported Large Survey Project. He is expected to utilise the MIGHTEE data and the IDIA capabilities to implement novel machine learning algorithms to separate the contributions from stars and SMBHs, a vital ingredient in understanding the co-evolution of galaxies and their SMBHs. In addition to this, as a core member of the SKA-VLBI science working group, over the course of his fellowship he will assist in the implementation of MeerKAT into the global VLBI array. This is key if we are to investigate the faintest cataclysmic events and prepare for SKA Phase 2. Finally, Dr. Radcliffe is heavily involved in the Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA) project, which trains and teaches young African students from seven countries in radio astronomy. This project aims to increase the number of African astronomers over the next decade in preparation for the upcoming SKA and African VLBI Network, thus putting African astronomy onto the world stage.

Dr. Radcliffe will be expanding the University of Pretoria‘s postdoctoral compliment who are working on projects from the imaging of black holes to using artificial intelligence to help new scientific discoveries. We look forward to the contribution of Dr. Radcliffe, and to the continued development and growth of the UP Group.