The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) conveys its deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Professor Sergio Colafrancesco, the SKA Chair in Radio Astronomy in the School of Physics at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Professor Colafrancesco passed away on Sunday, 30 September 2018 after a battle with cancer.
Professor Colafrancesco’s main research strategy was to use radio astronomical observations with the most powerful radio telescopes such a MeerKAT and their correlation with the largest gamma-ray telescopes in Southern Africa (for example HESS in Namibia and the future Cherenkov Telescope Array – CTA) to unveil the structure, origin and evolution of the Universe and of its sub-structures, from the smallest galaxies to the largest galaxy clusters.
In this context, Professor Colafrancesco had a wide range of research interests, among which the search for the nature of dark matter, the origin of dark energy, probes of gravity on cosmological scales, the origin of cosmic magnetism, the multi-scale evolution of galaxies and galaxy clusters, the nature of the most powerful objects in the Universe (blazars and radio-galaxies), the origin of high-energy phenomena and magnetic fields in cosmic structures, the origin of cosmic rays and the nature of the highest-E particle events in the Universe. He was also exploring new directions in the astrophysical studies of light propagation and quantum space-time effect.
“Professor Colafrancesco’s passing is a great loss to the radio astronomy fraternity around the world. His scientific contribution and work will always be remembered and referred to for many years to come, as he was a visionary in his academic field,” says Dr Rob Adam, Managing Director of SARAO.
Professor Colafrancesco was also a member of the SARAO Users Committee and a Board Member of the National Research Foundation. He is survived by his wife Svetlana.