National Science Week public lectures: How Science Strengthens a Democracy @ iThemba LABS, Cape Town
Jul 30 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
SPEAKER Professor Mike Bruton


National Science Week public lectures: What a Great Idea! Awesome South African Inventions @ iThemba LABS, Cape Town
Aug 1 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
SPEAKER Professor Mike Bruton


iThemba LABS Open Day @ iThemba LABS, Cape Town
Aug 4 all-day
Women’s Day Event @ iThemba LABS, Cape Town
Aug 8 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Women's Day Event @ iThemba LABS, Cape Town

August is Women’s month in South Africa and on 9 August we celebrate Women’s Day.

All staff are invited to join in celebrating Women’s Day on Wednesday 8 August in the auditorium.

RSVP by no later than Monday 6 August to or extension 1004/1032/1259.

A programme of events will be shared closer to the time.

See Invitation


The Atacama Desert as Mars analog and extraterrestrial dust trap. @ iThemba LABS Lecture Theatre (Johannesburg)
Aug 29 @ 2:00 pm
PRESENTER: Dr. Jenny Feige
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Technical University Berlin.
Berlin, Germany
ENQUIRIES: Dr. S.R. Winkler


The Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth and can be of great use to scientists working in the fields of astrobiology and astrophysics. On the one hand, the Atacama Desert soils are analogous to the extremely dry Martian surface, which is one of the main obstacles for life to flourish. We have investigated the habitability and biota of five one-meter soil profiles representing a range of microhabitats present in the Atacama Desert showing that the habitability of these microenvironments partially depend on the depositional setting, salt content, fog frequency, and the presence of seismically-driven boulder movement. Hence, our data provides guidance for identifying those soil types on Mars that are most promising for the search of life. On the other hand, the stable hyper-arid climate conditions in the Atacama Desert allow for slow sedimentation of atmospheric dust over millions of years, making it an ideal place to search for extraterrestrial dust. About 30,000 tons of interplanetary dust accumulates on Earth each year. A large fraction can be found as micrometeorites on the Earth’s surface. Additionally, interstellar dust signatures from supernovae were observed in deep-sea sediments, indicating nearby stellar explosions at 2-3 Myr and 6-8 Myr ago. We use an Atacama soil profile dating back millions of years to search for micrometeorites and for the first continental signatures of nearby supernovae.

iThemba LABS Health & Wellness Day @ iThemba LABS, Cape Town
Oct 19 @ 9:00 am
30 Years of Research with the iThemba LABS Cyclotrons @ iThemba LABS, Cape Town
Oct 25 – Oct 26 all-day
6th International Conference on Collective Motion in Nuclei under Extreme Conditions (COMEX6) @ Protea Hotel Fire and Ice, Cape Town
Oct 29 – Nov 2 all-day

Registration is open for the 6th International Conference on Collective Motion in Nuclei under Extreme Conditions (COMEX6).  Visit the website at for more information.

Day one of COMEX6, the 29th October 2018, will take place at iThemba LABS with a special opening session which the Minister of the Department of Science and Technology Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, will attend.  The rest of the conference, from 30 October until 2 November will take place at the Protea Hotel Fire and Ice in Cape Town.

Workshop on: Spectrum, Presentation, Analysis, Manipulation, and Simulation (SPAMS) @ iThemba LABS, Cape Town
Nov 12 – Nov 14 all-day
Lecturers/facilitators: Dr Tanya Hutton (Dept. of Physics, UCT), Dr Pete Jones (Dept. of Subatomic Physics, iThemba LABS), Dr Philippos Papadakis (Univ. of Liverpool), Dr Carl Unsworth (STFC Daresbury Laboratory, UK )
Venue: Auditorium and Computer Lab, iThemba LABS

Students will be introduced briefly to different data acquisition systems used in nuclear physics experiments involving gamma-­‐ray spectrometry. Ways to analyze these spectra to determine energy calibrations, peak areas, efficiency calibrations and peak-­‐to-­‐total ratios, amongst others, will be discussed. Ways to convert spectra from one format to another (for software compatibility) and to present publication/presentation quality spectra will also be discussed. Students will also be given a brief introduction to spectrum simulation. The workshop will involve a mix of lectures and student hands-­‐on work in the iThemba LABS Computer Lab.

For more information see the announcement.

Science and observation: measuring for knowledge @ iThemba LABS, Cape Town
Nov 16 @ 11:00 am
SPEAKER: Professor Andy Buffler Department of Physics, University of Cape Town; and Metrological and Applied Sciences University Research Unit (MeASURe)
VENUE: iThemba LABS, Auditorium


The art and act of measurement lie at the very heart of the enterprise of Science. Measurement mediates between the complexity of the real universe in which we live and the idealised order of physical theory. This lecture will illustrate the powerful role that careful observation of nature plays in the creation of all scientific knowledge, and the subsequent development of technologies. Unambiguous understanding of the quality of data from experiment, whether from the detectors located within the caverns of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, or from a handheld radiation counter, is critical for the effective use of the data. I will provide examples from my own research programmes in applied nuclear physics where radiation is put to use in a variety of contexts. The lecture will also make the case for placing measurement at the forefront of our laboratory- based teaching programmes and argue for a more central role of a philosophy of measurement in science education at all levels.