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 UWC’s Astrophysics Group rockets with 81 publications for 2013

UWC’s Astrophysics Group rockets with 81 publications for 2013


The Astrophysics Group at UWC, headed by Prof Roy Maartens, who is UWC’s first ever, NRF A-rated scientist, produced 81 refereed journal papers (in journals with impact factors from 3 to 8) for 2013.

The University of the Western Cape has built up a major presence in the field of Astrophysics during the last six years.  The Physics Department has a long history of successful research in the fields of Materials Science, Nuclear Physics and Physics Education. In 2005 the university recognised that the developments in Astronomy in South Africa provided an opportunity to play a major role in this field.  The proximity to the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and the offices for the KAT (Karoo Array Telescope) made it a logical choice to pursue research efforts in this field.  The excitement around the bid for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) made this an even more opportune time to expand into Astrophysics.

The Astrophysics Group is made up of:  staff members, Profs Romeel Davé, Chris Koen (Dept. of Statistics), Roy Maartens, Mario Santos, Russ Taylor, and Dr Enrico Olivier; adjunct profs Catherine Cress, Jarita Holbrook and Dave Kilkenny; SKA visiting prof Matt Jarvis; the administrator, Ms Michelle Gabler; postdoctoral researchers, Drs. Daniele Bertacca, Daniel Cunnama, Stephen Fine, Russell Johnston, Kim McAlpine, Saurav Mitra, Patrice Okouma, Matt Prescott, Mathew Smith, Robert Thompson, Obinna Umeh, Mattia Vaccari, Prina Patel​ and Jonathan Zwart; PhD students,  Solohery Randriamampandry, Mahmoud Hashim, Geoffrey Okeng’o,  Ando Ratsimbazafy, Sahba Yahya, Nikhita Madhanpall, Adams Duniya, Takalani Marubini and Sultan Hassan; MSc students, Siyambonga Matshawule, Lehlohonolo Mokoena, Liesbeth Gouws, Rudi–Lee Gibbs, Mika Rafieferantsoa.

In addition to highly active research output, the Group is active in the training of students and postdoctoral researchers. Most of the 13 post doctoral researchers and 14 students are supported by the South African SKA Project, by Roy Maarten’s SKA Research Chair and by Romeel Davé’s SARChI Research Chair.  There is a strong emphasis on using the SKA project to develop the cohort of researchers among South Africans and in particular amongst the historically disadvantaged groups.  The Physics Department has played a major role in the training of postgraduate students, an enterprise which is now being given a significant boost with the presence of the Astrophysics staff appointed over the last five years.​



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