CAPE TOWN – Every year the South African Institute of Physics (Saip) conference gathers together top physics professionals, academics and students to discuss cutting-edge technology and leading research and reward up-and-coming young scientists.

South Africa is celebrating Science Week this week and three students from the University of the Western Cape have proven they are well equipped to be part of a prestigious annual physics conference.

This year’s 62nd Saip meeting hosted by the Stellenbosch University Department of Physics presented everything from astrophysics to nanotechnology and more.

Nuclear physicist Khanyisa Sowazi measures gamma-ray strength functions of heavy nuclei – one of the input parameters important in describing nuclear astrophysics reactions.

He said, “Nuclear science helps us learn about the most fundamental workings of the universe – how electricity works, why the sun shines, why stars go supernova, and so much more.

“Being able to make mathematical models and develop theories which describe the dynamics of the world around me is just fascinating.”

Materials scientist Siphesihle Magubane from Ozwathini, KwaZulu-Natal, agrees that studying physics provides interesting insights about the universe.

But he also appreciates how the knowledge discovered can help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.

“What got me interested in photovoltaic research more than anything is that it tries to solve some of today’s biggest issues – like global warming.”

Physics education researcher Sinovuyo Tanci was attending SAIP for the third time and received the presentation award for the second time in a row.

Her research is based on investigating how first year-students solve problems using kinetic equations.


– Cape Argus

Categories: Education