UCT is sad to report the death of Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Hansford (71) on 16 May. A UCT alumnus, Hansford was an early stalwart of bioprocess engineering.
The son of a Cape Times journalist, Hansford was raised in Camps Bay. He graduated in chemical engineering with first-class honours followed by a master's degree at UCT (one of the last theses to be hand-written!), and a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, US. He returned to the chemical engineering department at UCT in 1969, filling the roles of senior lecturer, professor, head of department, deputy dean and emeritus professor for close to 40 years - a UCT man all the way.
Initially Hansford's research focused on fermentation and water treatment but from the late 1970s, he and a group of South Africans were pioneers of biohydrometallurgy, using micro-organisms in bioleaching of metals from sulfide minerals and treating sulfate-containing acidic wastewaters. He focused on the mechanism and kinetics, particularly of the microbial ferrous-iron oxidation sub-process. Hansford's contributions to biohydrometallurgy are internationally recognised, evidenced by the many tributes from the international community over the past week.
He was a strong proponent of scholarship in research and teaching, always challenging his colleagues to raise their game. His life was full, illustrated by his passion for research, and his passion for fishing. In the past few years, he moved happily from the position of world-class scientist to world-class grandfather. He is remembered for his formidable intellect, his compassion and his "larger than life" personality.
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