Stars: Winning physics students were (from left) Thuso Simon, Marissa Kotze, Victoria Nwosu, Cornelia van der Walt, Wendy Williams and Zara Randriamanakoto.
While the highlight at the recent annual conference of the South African Institute of Physics was undoubtedly the award of the De Beers Gold Medal to Emeritus Professor George Ellis, the performance of UCT students was equally golden.
MSc and PhD students from the physics and astronomy departments jointly collected no less than six awards for outstanding oral or poster presentations across a number of categories.
Thuso Simon won the award for the best MSc poster presentation in astrophysics for work on the search for X-ray transients.
Marissa Kotze clinched best PhD oral presentation (a shared award) in astronomy for her research on the long-term variations observed in the X-ray light curves of low mass X-ray binaries.
Victoria Nwosu collected the best PhD oral presentation in physics education, which investigates ways of probing the epistemology of postgraduate physics and astrophysics students.
Cornelia van der Walt garnered the best poster presentation for her research on condensed matter physics and material science (on diffusion kinetics in germanide phase formation during ramped anneals).
Wendy Williams won best MSc oral presentation in astrophysics for a survey of deep near infrared radio galaxies that lie behind our galaxy.
Finally, Zara Randriamanakoto collected the MSc encouragement prize for her oral presentation on probing the super star cluster candidates in the star-forming regions of luminous infrared galaxies.
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