In remembrance: Karl Wilkinson

28 August 2017
In remembrance
28 August 2017

Dear colleagues and students

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of Dr Karl Wilkinson (36), a lecturer in the Department of Chemistry. Dr Wilkinson died in the early hours of Friday, 25 August 2017, at the Constantiaberg MediClinic after undergoing an operation to remove a brain tumour two days earlier.

Dr Wilkinson came to the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2008 as a postdoctoral fellow with a coding talent that was instrumental in the initiation of a great project that brought about UCT’s active participation in the field of quantum chemistry software development for next generation high-performance computers. He was a specialist in writing complex quantum code for graphical processing units. He did this despite suffering from intense bouts of migraines.

Associate Professor Neil Ravenscroft, head of the Department of Chemistry, said, “There are moments in the lives of even the most rational amongst us when we are reminded of our frailty and of the strength we draw from being amongst like-minded souls. Today is such a day for the colleagues and students in the Scientific Computing Research Unit and the Department of Chemistry. We have lost Karl Wilkinson, a friend, a colleague, a mentor, a young mind that gave us so much.”

Dr Kevin Naidoo, a colleague and former mentor, said, “Karl went about his teaching and research in a quiet but determined way that showed so much promise. As a researcher he threw everything he had at the most challenging problems; as a colleague he was always willing to share his talents and insights with students and staff alike. In the nascent field of scientific computing at UCT, he had started to make a mark that would without a doubt become large footprints over time. He will be missed very much by all who knew him.”

Dr Wilkinson is survived by his wife, Amilinda Wilkinson, a staff member in the Land and Accountability Research Centre in the Faculty of Law.

His memorial service and funeral have not yet been confirmed.

On behalf of the UCT community, I extend heartfelt condolences to the family of Dr Wilkinson. I know that there will be many who are holding the family and friends in their thoughts as they come to terms with their loss.


Dr Max Price

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