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.
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