First PhD for NASSP

09 June 2008

The National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) has produced its first PhD graduate. Bob Osano of the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics has made the grade with his thesis, titled Beyond the Standard Model of Cosmology of Cosmology: A perturbative approach.

In his thesis Osano developed new techniques for studying gravitational waves generated by non-linear effects in the very early stages of evolution of the Universe.

Beginning his postgraduate studies in 2003, Osano, who is part of the UCT Cosmology and Gravity Group, intended to graduate with a master's - but ended up going the whole hog.

The NASSP is a consortium of South African universities and national facilities that has been based at UCT since 2003 and is the premier postgraduate training programme for studies in astrophysics and space science in Africa. It provides students with the opportunity to do collaborative, combined honours and master's programmes under the wings of some of the South Africa's finest scientists.

There are currently about 50 NASSP postgraduate students around the country, and about half are involved in PhD programmes. It is expected that within the next few months a further five students will complete their PhDs.

Now lecturing mathematics to first-year commerce students at UCT, Osano remains involved with the Cosmology and Gravity Group and furthering his research.

And as for the future?

"When I grow up I want to be a farmer," he quips.

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