Dr Sthabile Kolwa is a South African / Zambian Astronomer who hails from Johannesburg, South Africa. From the tender age of 6, she has had a keen interest in engineering and the sciences with her fascination on these topics being honed through a prolonged childhood exploration facilitated by books at the school library. She eventually chose Astrophysics as her focus after reading Prof. Stephen Hawking’s best selling popular science magnum opus, A Brief History of Time.
To date, her main research topics have been the galaxy groups of nearby radio-loud active galactic nuclei and the circumgalactic medium environments of distant radio galaxies. She has used multiwavelength observational data to study the galaxy clustering, kinematics, chemical content and ultimately, the evolution of radio AGN host galaxies, using statistical and phenomenological methods.
Sthabile completed her undergraduate and MSc degrees at the University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape, respectively. For her PhD, she was selected from a pool of 200 shortlisted applicants in the IMPRS (International Max Planck Research School) program to complete her thesis at the European Southern Observatory and be awarded with a degree from Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich. Today, she continues with her research with the goal of investigating the physics underlying radio galaxy evolution as a SARAO Postdoctoral Fellow at the Inter-University Institute for Data-intensive Astronomy (IDiA ) affiliated with the University of Cape Town’s Astronomy Department.
Sthabile is working on finding solutions for improving STEM education in South Africa at the school and university level as she sees this as fundamental to the forward progression of a technologically sophisticated and globally competitive nation. In her spare time, Sthabile enjoys indulging her creative side by playing acoustic guitar, voice and MIDI instruments. She is also an avid lover of literature and likes to share her views and reactions to books she reads regularly on Goodreads and discuss coding, data science and Astronomy on Medium.