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Physics

Position: Head of Department
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2323
Fax: +27 (021) 959 2323

Position: Deputy Head of Department and Associate Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3472
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Position: Emeritus Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3473
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Biography:

Prof Arendse’s research is focused on the application of nano-structured material in energy conversion devices, such as photovoltaic devices. Specific energy technology areas that he targets are photovoltaic devices, where he focuses on the synthesis and characterisation of silicon-alloyed nanostructures, organic photovoltaics and nano-metrology. Crucial to the development of such devices is the understanding of the structure-property-relationship of the constituent nano-structured material and its eventual impact on the electrical properties and stability of the devices. Prof Arendse has published several papers in international accredited peer-reviewed journals and regularly supervises MSc and PhD students.
 

Position: Emeritus Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2326
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Biography:

Prof Lindsay completed a D.Phil in Theoretical Physics at Oxford in the UK in 1982.  He joined UWC after a 2-year post-doc at Daresbury Laboratory in the UK. 
During the 1990’s, I then worked more closely with the experimentalists at iThemba LABS and Prof Werner Richter at Stellenbosch on (mainly) pre-equilibrium reactions.  Several papers were published from this and other collaborations with experimentalists at iThemba LABS.

He published many papers in the theoretical physics field, often with experimentalists.  About 15 years ago, he decided to concentrate more on Applied Nuclear Physics work.
He works on the applications of (especially) natural radioactivity and on some radiation protection studies.  This work has led to a substantial rise in research output and student supervision.

Position: Emeritus professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2236
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Position: Emeritus professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2347
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Position: Associate Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3465
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Biography:

Prof Moise Tchokonte is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics. He obtained his DEA in Theoretical Physics at the University of Yaounde, Cameroon, his MSc degree in Theoretical Physics and his PhD degree in experimental condensed matter Physics at Wits University.

Prof Tchokonte received two awards at the South African Institute of Physics conferences: one award for the most outstanding poster presentation in the field of Solid-State Physics and / or Materials Science delivered at the Annual South Africa Institute of Physics Conference in Potchefstroom, 2002. The second award was for the most outstanding work in the field of Solid-State Physics and / or Materials Science based on a publication in a Scientific Journal originating from his Doctoral Thesis, at the Annual South Africa Institute of Physics Conference in Stellenbosch, 2003. He is a Member of the South African Institute of Physics and a Regular Associate of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy.

His activities are based on Experimental research in the Strongly Correlated Electron Systems, or magnetism in the solid state and condensed matter Physics. He has made very interesting and generated exhaustive work on the competition between the Kondo effects and magnetic inter site interaction in alloys with Cerium. His research field of strongly correlated electron systems: Transport and magnetic properties of heavy-fermion and Kondo Cerium compounds. His research on these compounds involves measurements, analysis and interpretation of transport and thermodynamic properties such as electrical resistivity, magnetoresistivity, thermoelectric power, magnetic susceptibility, magnetization and specific heat capacity over a broad range of temperature and magnetic fields. He recently set up a closed – cycle Helium refrigerator for electrical resistivity measurements from room temperature (300 K) down to 2.5 K in his research laboratory. He has published several research papers in Peer-reviewed research journals and presented his research findings and interpretations at several national and international conferences and workshops.

Position:  SARChI Chair in Nuclear Physics
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3468
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Position: Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3454
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Biography:

As a lecturer, I joined the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in 2011, where I immediately kicked off developing a Coulex program at iThemba LABS. The pipe line for these kind of measurements is now fully functioning and the first experiments ran successfully in 2015 using 20Ne and 40Ar beams. These studies involve the determination of second-order effects in Coulex perturbation theory, including the reorientation effect (RE), e.g., diagonal matrix elements, and the nuclear E1 polarizability. Many other Coulex measurements are scheduled at iThemba LABS in March-April 2016.
Additional multi-step Coulomb-excitation experiments have successfully been carried out at HIE-ISOLDE (CERN) aimed at investigating gamma bands and shape coexistence in the A~70-80 region. Furthermore, we have astronomical data from the South African Large Telescope (SALT) to study extreme metal poor stars. I am the principal investigator of this
project, which aims at measuring abundance ratios of heavy metals. The results will indicate whether the first elements were created in either the rapid-neutron process or the slow-neutron process. In 2013 I was promoted to Associate Professor and I’m currently Full Professor since 2017.
Retrospectively, my work has evolved towards a broad understanding of nuclear structure physics from experiments and theoretical calculations throughout the nuclear chart, from spherical to deformed nuclei, from low- to high-spin phenomena, from the neutron to lead. The most important achievements are explained in the “Brief Description of Completed Research” section. Some 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings with about 650 citations (h-index = 15) describe my work for the last eight years.

Other personal achievements during the last 5 years at UWC account for the Chair of the Physics Users at iThemba LABS, Chair of the GAMKA (Gamma-ray spectrometer for Knowledge in Africa), Representative of Research Science Committee and Chair of the Research Open Day (where we invited the Nobel Laureate in Physics, Serge Haroche) at
UWC, member of the Program Advisory Committee (PAC) at iThemba LABS and Chair of the celebrated Tastes of Nuclear Physics. I have been a referee for the Physical Review C, Journal of Physics G and South African Institute of Physics journals. Awards received by the NRF/DST include the first SaRchi Chair in Nuclear Science (Smarajit Triambak, UWC/iThemba LABS), Competitive Rated Researchers Grant (R800,000) and Strategic Research Funding (GAMKA, R35M). It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the
holy curious of inquiry. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.

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Position: Senior Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3460
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Biography:

Dr Sylvain Halindintwali is currently a senior lecturer in the department of Physics at the University of the Western Cape (UWC).
Dr Halindintwali holds a PhD in solid state physics obtained in 2005 at UWC. His dissertation focused on the study of “hydrogenated nanocrystalline silicon thin films deposited by hot-wire chemical vapour deposition (HWCVD)”. Dr Halindintwali is still actively involved in this area of research with special emphasis on materials that find application in solar cells.
Dr Halindintwali applies diverse spectroscopy and electrical characterization techniques to study issues ranging from microstructure, optical properties, passivation and stability of these photovoltaic materials. To this end, beyond his research group in the Physics department, Dr Halindintwali has and still collaborates with colleagues from the Chemistry department at UWC, iThemba LABS in Cape Town, CSIR in Pretoria as well as Utrecht and Groningen in the Netherlands.

From the time of his appointment in 2006, Dr Halindintwali has served at several committees in the faculty of science including Health and safety, Research and International relations as well as Postgraduate affairs at present.
Sylvain Halindintwali was awarded the first van der Weg scholarship at Utrecht University – the Netherlands in 2005; he was a recipient of the COIMBRA group scholarship for young Africans researchers at Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, Optical Condensed Matter Physics, University of Groningen in 2009 – 2010.
Dr Halindintwali is a C-rated scientist by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa.

Position: Senior lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2236
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Biography:

Dr Gerald Malgas is currently a senior lecturer in the department of Physics at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Dr Malgas holds a PhD in solid state physics obtained in 2004 at UWC. His research is focused on the application of nano-structured material in the application for sensors and energy devices, such as photovoltaic devices. He has published several papers in international accredited peer-reviewed journals and regularly supervises MSc and PhD students.

Position: Senior Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2556
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Position: Senior lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959
Fax: +27 (021) 959

Position: Senior Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2328
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Biography:

Theo Muller is a material scientist.  His research centres on photovoltaic material for the generation of electricity.  In particular, it focusses on the application of nanoparticles for improving the charge-transfer mechanisms, and ultimately the efficiency of these devices.   The features of nano- silicon and its alloys in silicon thin film photovoltaics, and metal and metal oxides used in silicon and organic photovoltaics, are specifically studied so that its structural and optical properties can be related to device performance.

He obtained a Higher Diploma in Education at UWC, before embarking on a brief stint teaching Mathematics and Physics at secondary school level. He thereafter returned to UWC to complete his BSc, BSc Hons, and MSc while employed in the Physics Department as scientific officer.  Whilst registered at UWC for his PhD he was awarded the Utrecht University Africa Fellowship, and spent six months in the Netherlands to further his experimental work. He was eventually awarded a PhD under the supervision of Dirk Knoesen.  In 2011 he was appointed as lecturer in the Physics Department.
He has published in international refereed journals since 2006, and is currently supervising and co-supervising postgraduate students in materials research.

Position: ECP (Extended Curriculum Programme) contract lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2327
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Position: Chief Technical Officer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 9516
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Biography:

Mr. Israel N. Hlatshwayo is one of the two Chief Technical Officers of the Physics Department. He has served in this position since January 2012. Amongst his duties as a Chief Technical Officer, he also assists with the lecturing of introductory Physics at 1st Year level.

Mr. Hlatshwayo worked as a Technical Officer for the Environmental Radioactivity Laboratory of iThemba LABS from 2006 to 2011. He holds BSc (Physics and Electronics), BSc (Honours, Nuclear Physics), and MSc (Applied Nuclear Physics) degrees from the University of Zululand.

Position: Technical Officer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2324
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Position: PC Lab Manager
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3466
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Position: Administrator - Development & Outreach (IDIA)
Tel: +27 (021) 959 4137
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Position: Senior Technical Officer
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

Position: ECP (Extended Curriculum Programme) contract lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959
Fax: +27 (021) 959

Administrative Officer
Email: smqhayi@uwc.ac.za
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3774

Position: Senior Administrative Assistant
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2327
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Position: Technical Officer
Tel: +27 (021) 959
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Astronomy

Academic Staff

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Position: Associate Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

 

Biography:

Carolina Ödman-Govender is the Associate Director of Development and Outreach at IDIA. Trained in physics at EPFL in Switzerland, she holds a PhD in cosmology from Cambridge University, UK. After a Marie Curie research fellowship in Italy, she became the first international project manager of Universe Awareness. She joined the South African Astronomical Observatory as an SKA Research Fellow working at the interface between astronomy and technology, which she continues, as a member of the astronomy conference series brain trust. She was Director of Academic Development for the Next Einstein Initiative before joining a financial technology start-up as Chief Scientist before rejoining academia.
 

Position: Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

 

Biography:

Multi-wavelength astrophysical research on star-formation, variable stars and the evolution of elliptical galaxies and clusters and their progenitors, in both gravitationally lensed and un-lensed systems, exploiting observations at optical to radio and complementary wavebands from ground and space telescopes. Exploitation of gravitational lensed systems for studies of extragalactic and cosmological dark matter and distant galaxies. Probing the physical structure of active and radio galaxies, as well as star-forming regions. Astroparticle Physics: Exploring the intersection of astrophysics and particle physics. Oral Historical Studies: Conducting, archiving and analyzing interviews of individuals involved in astronomy and other unique professional specializations in South Africa. Leadership and Management: Science, technical and academic organizations and entities.

Position: Research Chair
Tel: +27 (021) 959 
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

 

Biography:

My main area of research is Cosmology. In particular, I’m studying how the next generation of large radio telescopes, such as MeerKAT in South Africa and the future SKA will be able to answer fundamental questions in Cosmology, from the nature of dark energy or the physics of the primordial Universe to the process of Reionization when the first stars and galaxies of the Universe were born.  This research involves both analytical models and large scale numerical simulations as well as a good understanding of the telescopes setup. The huge volumes of data that will be provided by these experiments also allow for unique and exciting ways to develop novel statistical analysis techniques.
Experiments in which I’m currently involved: MeerKAT, SKA, PAPER, LOFAR, ASKAP, APERTIF, EUCLID.

Position: Associate Professor and eResearch Director 
Tel: +27 (021) 959 
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

 

Biography:

I am an Astroinformatics Research Professor working on multi-wavelength data fusion and machine learning techniques to enable the scientific exploitation of MeerKAT Large Survey Projects. My main science interest is to better understand the Cosmic Star Formation History using multi-wavelength extragalactic surveys. I am also interested in applying Artificial Intelligence techniques to longstanding problems in observational astrophysics such as source detection and classification. I was born in Italy where I studied at the University of Padova and completed a MSc in Physics and a PhD in Space Science and Technology. I have since been a Research Scientist at Imperial College London, the University of Padova and the University of the Western Cape. I am affiliated with the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA), where I lead the HELP-IDIA Panchromatic Project (HIPPO), whose aim is to create a cloud-based environment where astronomers can effectively exploit MeerKAT data in the context of multi-wavelength data.

Position: Research Chair
Tel: +27 (021) 959 
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

 

Biography:

The SKA will look deeper into the Universe and further back in time than any other telescope before it. I hold an SKA Research Chair which funds a team of postgraduates and postdocs. My research team aims to use maps of the distribution of galaxies in the Universe from the SKA precursor MeerKAT and the SKA, combined with maps from other surveys. These maps contain a wealth of information. They carry an imprint of the Dark Energy that is forcing the Universe to expand faster and faster. They also contain a ‘fossil’ record of the properties of the very early Universe. In addition, these maps allow us to test the foundations of our understanding of the Universe: (a) Einstein’s 1915 theory of General Relativity; (b) the large-scale smoothness and isotropy of the Universe. 

Position: Research Chair
Tel: +27 (021) 959 
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

 

Biography:

Professor Russ Taylor has extensive expertise in radio astronomy, in particular wide-field polarization, cosmic magnetism and Big Data, and has played a prominent role in the SKA project since its inception. He is interested in using MeerKAT to detect polarised signals from the low luminosity AGN and star forming galaxies as an initial step toward the SKA key science area of the evolution of cosmic magnetism.
 

Position:Senior Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

 

Biography:

I am primarily an observational astronomer focused on using multi-wavelength data to study processes related to galaxy formation and evolution. I have also worked on producing and using synthetic data products (mainly HI data cubes) to quantify the systematic uncertainties in results generated by various experimental methods (e.g., HI spectral line stacking).
 

Position: Senior Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

 

Biography:

With the next generation of telescopes almost upon us, such as the radio telescope the Square Kilometre Array (www.skatelescope.org) and the optical Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (www.lsst.org), my research focus is on rethinking how to do scientific analysis in the era of massive datasets. This largely involves developing new machine learning and statistical tools to best leverage new astronomical data. As one of the South African LSST Principle Investigators, I’m working to develop machine learning classification algorithms to handle the billions of new astrophysical transients that LSST will detect. I’m also heavily involved in efforts to optimise LSST’s observing strategy, given it’s many and ambitious science goals. On the radio side I’m interested in a new approach to source-finding and how best to combine optical and radio data, particularly for HI applications such as the LADUMA survey on the SKA pathfinder MeerKAT (https://science.ska.ac.za/meerkat). I’m also particularly interested in the exciting question of scientific discovery in the era where most data cannot be monitored by human eyes and am working to develop general-purpose anomaly detection techniques for use with LSST, SKA and other telescopes. My position is joint between UWC and the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory.

Position: Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3474

 

Biography:

I am an NGAP Lecturer and PhD student working with Prof Mario Santos and Prof Roy Maartens at the Centre for Radio Cosmology. My main research area is in Cosmology, in the subject of HI intensity mapping. My project involves simulating single dish primary beam effects on foregrounds, particularly concentrating on their frequency dependence, and effects on point sources. Understanding single dish instrumental effects will be important for foreground cleaning when conducting HI intensity mapping studies with telescopes such as the MeerKAT and future SKA telescope. Away from research, my other interests are in public outreach, STEM education and farming. 

Admin Staff

Administrative Officer
Email:mgabler@uwc.ac.za
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3464

Administrative Officer
Email: ntnqakala@uwc.ac.za
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2519