Monthly Archives: March 2017


Adolf from Motetswhane the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) in Botswana is visiting the ERL from 27 February to 31 March.

Samafou Penabei, a PhD student from the University of Douala in Cameroon, is a visitor to the ERL from 28 February to 31 May.

Science Engagement

The CIT Dept. presented science workshops for educators in Lady Frere and Queenstown in the Eastern Cape between 27 February and 2 March.

Long Range Planning Workshop for Gauteng Dept.

The Directorate visited Gauteng on 7 March for a workshop to discuss the 10 year plans for the department. Various stakeholders and students made presentations on the use of the facility.

Tier-3 High Performance Computing Cluster at iThemba LABS

Through resources made available by CERN, a high performance computing cluster was launched to allow iThemba LABS a significant computer increase in capabilities, especially for the ALICE group as well as the whole SA-ALICE collaboration.

Uranium carbide (UCx) targets for radioactive beams

Ntombizonke Kheswa, the Subatomic Physics Department target maker, recently visited the Italian and French laboratories that are specializing in the manufacture of uranium carbide (UCx) targets for radioactive beams. The purpose for her visit was to identify the requirements for the establishment of a laboratory capable of producing UCx targets and to acquire the necessary skills for the production of carbide targets. Her visit included two-weeks of visit and training at the Legnaro National Laboratory (LNL) and a two day visit to the Institute of Nuclear Physics of Orsay (IPNO).

ALICE Muon Tracking Chambers (MCH) Upgrade Project

Rony Kuriakose at CERN

Rony Kuriakose (electronic engineer-Instrumentation Group) and Zinhle Buthelezi (researcher– iThemba-ALICE group), visited CERN, Geneva, Switzerland from 12-25 February. CERN is currently undergoing various upgrades within the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) detector – one of numerous experiments on the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) ring. The opportunity to be involved in the electronics for the ALICE Muon Tracking Chambers (MCH), among other projects will be discussed in the Subatomic physics department.

iThemba LABS in the media (22/03/2017)

Check out the advertisement for iThemba LABS training opportunities in the Quest Magazine, vol13, no 1, p37:

High Energy Physics Workshop hosted at the Gauteng department of iThemba LABS:

Public Lecture at iThemba LABS appears on “Things to do in Somerset West” page:

From the Director’s Board (22/03/2017)

These two first weeks of March were rich in many aspects:

  • Our department in Gauteng organised a workshop where various activities were presented and discussed by users to define opportunities and priorities for the coming 5 to 10 years. As expected, the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry remains the main challenge for the future. A large part of the required specifications for the AMS facility have been accomplished during a number of test experiments. The challenge is now shifting towards reaching the stage of routine AMS measurements which will still require future efforts and investments. The other activities discussed during the workshop, including IBA techniques and Environmental Isotope facilities, are scientifically sound and promising and will certainly be part of the long Range Plan of iThemba LABS.
  • The EXCOM meeting held on the 6th of March was mainly dedicated to the discussion of the priorities in terms of research activities in order to help in finalizing our Long Range Plan by mid-April.
  • In view of iThemba LABS being a national users-facility, a series of country-wide University visits was initiated by the director. The visits to the University of Cape Town and to the University of Stellenbosch were very positive with a clear manifestation from head of department and DVC of the interest and support they have in iThemba LABS and its future project SAIF.
  • The detailed document for the SAIF project has been finalized and proposed to the Corporate Executive of NRF who subsequently endorsed it and escalated it for discussion at the NRF Board on 29 March.
  • Subsequent to the initiative of creating an Instrumentation group and in line with defining its future growth, a workshop on the up-grade of the ATLAS calorimeter (a component of the experimental equipment of one of the LHC experiments at CERN), has been organized at iThemba LABS with the supervision of our South African colleagues from WITS and other Universities.

Learner’s Lecture: Dr Sudesh Sivarasu

Dr Sudesh Sivarasu, Senior Lecturer in the Division of Biomedical Engineering at UCT, will present a lecture for High School learners. He received the TW Kambule-NSTF Award for Emerging Researchers at the prestigious 18th annual National Science and Technology Forum Awards Dinner. Earlier this year Dr Sivarasu was also awarded a Claude Leon Merit Award for emerging researchers.

Public Lecture – Prof Suprakas Ray

Imagine a sticker, slapped onto a miner’s sleeve that could warn underground workers about the presence of toxic or flammable gases; or a material that could adsorb heavy metal pollutants from mine wastewater without the need for large, expensive and power-hungry purification equipment. Such elegant solutions in the context of local challenges like mine safety, pollution, electricity supply, and providing clean water to communities, would make a big difference and it requires big thinking

From the Director’s Office

A New Year brings new opportunities to share a vision, build collaborations and shape the future.

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Corporate Profile

Corporate profile of iThemba LABS in February issue of Leadership Magazine p. 68-69

Read more p. 68-69

SA-CERN Collaboration

Big data science in South Africa reaching new funding highs through the South African CERN collaboration

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ATLAS upgrade workshop

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