Tribute to physics' luminary Perez

24 March 2015 | Story by Newsroom

UPDATE: UCT's Physics Department, under the headship of Professor Andy Buffler, will pay tribute next month to Professor Sandy Perez, who passed away on the morning of 8 January this year.

Family, friends, colleagues and ex-students are most welcome to attend the memorial on 1 April in Lecture Theatre B, RW James Building at 16h00. Speakers will include Associate Professor Saalih Allie, Emeritus Professor David Aschman, Dr Donald Ball, Emeritus Associate Professor Craig Comrie and Dr Shaun Wyngaardt.

Perez started at UCT in 1970 and retired in 2005, a career that included two stints as head of department, said Professor Andy Buffler, the current head of physics.

Buffler noted that many of those present at Perez's funeral on 15 January had "some or other" connection with UCT.

"What is that about? UCT somehow generates long-lasting friendships. Colleagues become friends, and their friends become friends. UCT is a lifestyle which Sandy both loved and enjoyed."

Perez was renowned as a theoretical nuclear physicist and he focussed on clustering within nuclei. "He maintained a very productive collaboration with colleagues at the University of Oxford, where he visited each year, and provided theory support to many projects at iThemba Labs," he added.

Perez remained active throughout his retirement and even published a number of papers last year.

"Friends and colleagues will remember his style on the cricket field, his red MG GBT, his love of physics, generous nature, and ruthless tactics at bridge," said Buffler.

"Sandy was one of the great silverbacks of UCT Physics. When a silverback dies, then the entire ecosystem is disrupted. But Sandy knew this, and had quietly and graciously extracted himself from mainstream university affairs in a way that only enhanced his reputation."

Story by staff reporter. Image supplied.

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