Seminar room takes name of inspirational teacher

11 July 2002
THE PHYSICS Department has officially named their seminar room the Duncan Elliott Seminar Room after graduate and lecturer, Dr Duncan Elliott. A keen mountaineer, Elliott (36) was tragically killed on July 20, 2000, in an ice-fall below the summit of Huascaran, the highest peak in the Peruvian Andes.

The function was attended by members of the Elliott family as well as colleagues and postgraduate students. Proceedings began with a short review of Duncan's work, including his contributions to physics, starting with his MSc and his PhD theses and ending with the "highly original" work he did at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in collaboration with Dirk Rischke.

Elliott graduated from UCT in 1988 and obtained a BSc degree, with distinctions in physics, and a BSc (Honours) in theoretical physics the following year. He was awarded his MSc in theoretical physics (with distinction) in 1996 and his PhD in Physics in 1999. His research work examined how one could tell whether, in ultra-high energy nuclear collisions, individual protons had been melted into a plasma of their constituent quarks and gluons.

Speaking at the naming ceremony, Professor David Aschman said the room had been dedicated to Elliott's memory because of his great love for the exposition of the ideas of physics, both in teaching and learning.

"He was a fine teacher, capable of inspiring and stretching the best students and also firmly guiding, encouraging and mentoring the weaker ones. He did this with energy and passion, insisting that physics was an intellectual activity of the highest order, and exhorting those he tutored that they could succeed if they would strive for the best."

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