Page 130 - UCT Research Report 2011

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UCT Research Report '11
Centre for Theoretical and Mathematical Physics
The Centre for Theoretical and Mathematical Physics (CTMP) is an inter-departmental research unit devoted to the
promotion of inter-disciplinary research in these areas. CTMP is part of the National Institute of Theoretical Physics.
CTMP has twelve local members from the departments of Astronomy, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics,
and Physics. It also has five international members who visit the centre on a regular basis. Postgraduate students
doing theses on related research fields are admitted to CTMP for the duration of their studies. An international
advisory board of seven internationally acclaimed scientists was appointed in 2006.
Director: Professor I. Barashenkov E‑mail: Web:
UCT-CERN Research Centre
The UCT-CERN Research Centre was established in 2003 out of a confluence of certain research programmes
within the Department of Physics. As implied by the name of the centre, there is extensive collaboration with
CERN, the European Centre for Particle Physics, which is one of the most prestigious research laboratories in
the world. In particular, the UCT-CERN Research Centre has close collaboration with the next-generation ultra-
relativistic heavy-ion experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), named ALICE (A Large Ion Collider
Director: Professor J.W.A. Cleymans E-mail: Web:
NanoSciences Innovation Centre
The Nanosciences Innovation Centre, located in the Department of Physics and established in 2010, aims to
form a bridge between the nanotechnology innovation chain (basic research and technological innovation),
and human capacity development. The centre’s scientific focus was initially based on existing activities in
nanoscale physics and nanostructured materials. These include the development of advanced nanomaterials
characterisation techniques, as well as the development of two technology platforms: printed nanoparticulate
silicon electronics and metallic matrix nanocomposites. The centre’s primary function is to serve as an African
hub for nanoscience research and postgraduate education, with an orientation towards renewable energy and
sustainable development.
Director: Associate professors D.T. Britton and M. Härting E-mail: and Web:
Research groupings
associated with this theme
contributing to the international scientific community,”
says Dr Hamilton.
The South African effort was partly funded by the South
African Department of Science and Technology, which
provided around R10,6 million. This funding was distributed
by the National Research Foundation over three years.
Other innovations of the UCT
Department of Physics
Recently appointed head of the Department of Physics,
Professor Andy Buffler, says that there is no doubt that
UCT’s participation in these global projects is essential
for the reputation of the university. “Physics has no local
geographical niche to appeal to, such as the southern
sky. Physics is truly universal, and to be recognised as
excellent, we need to play on the international stage.
Being in on big science is good for many reasons. Not
least of all attracting excellent students,” he says.
Professor Buffler has a vision to build on these
achievements and bring the department to new heights.
“We have to maximise what we have, to be where we
want to be,” he says. “We will have made nine new
appointments in a staff of 14, over five years. This
means a lot of fresh energy and many new ideas and
big plans that will inform the direction of the department
going forward, research and teaching wise.”
But it’s not only ‘big science’ that is innovating in the
department. “We are looking at nature on every scale, from
the smallest particles (such as in the Higgs search); to