International lecture series for computational science

13 September 2010

Prof Sason Shaik and Prof Kevin NaidooSpecialist skills: Prof Sason Shaik (right), who launched UCT's Scientific Computing International Lecturer Series, with Prof Kevin Naidoo.

Renowned chemist Professor Sason Shaik visited UCT to launch the Scientific Computing International Lecturer Series (SCILS).

Director of the Lize Meitner-Minerva Centre for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, Shaik delivered a number of lectures and hosted hands-on sessions during his four-day visit.

A relatively new discipline, computational science is yet to have a precise definition agreed upon. But in lay terms, the field involves methods for using supercomputers to study scientific problems, complementing both theory and experimentation components in a scientific investigation.

"The SCILS programme originated because scientific computing is strong at UCT, although this is not generally true for the rest of South Africa," explains Professor Kevin Naidoo, head of scientific computing in UCT's Centre for High Performance Computing.

"The idea is to have prominent people in the field visit UCT to interact with both students and staff," said Naidoo.

Shaik presented a public lecture to undergraduate chemistry students on 23 August, titled Chemistry: A central pillar of human culture, and a special lecture aimed at academic staff and postgraduates, titled Cytochrome P450 and its Reactivity Patterns: What a versatile catalyst!, on 24 August.

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