Professor Thomas Jarrett took over the DST/NRF SARChI Chair in Astrophysics and Space Science in 2012. He joined UCT from the Infrared Processing and Analysis Centre at the Californian Institute of Technology (CalTech), the academic home of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he played a major role in the preparation, and subsequent analysis, of the extragalactic Two Micron All Sky Survey catalogue (2MASX). He functioned as the project scientist for the Infrared Science Archive (IRSA) and was the principal lead of the Nearby Galaxy Group of the Wide-Fields Infrared Space Explorer (WISE). He also served on the WISE science team, which defined and managed the mission. While he is world-renowned for his expertise in the near- and mid-infrared, he also has hands-on experience of all other bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio to X-ray, both Earth- and space-based.
Professor Jarrett is a passionate researcher whose interest and expertise focus on the extragalactic large-scale structure and visualisation of the nearby universe, the Zone of Avoidance (the area of the night sky that is obscured by our own galaxy), interacting galaxies, star-formation processes and galaxy evolution. He was well known to the department by the time he joined UCT, having had active collaborations with its various members for many years – even co-supervising, mentoring and hosting UCT postgraduate students in the United States.