Subatomic Physics – Local and International Collaborations
The departmental researchers have several collaborations with their counterparts at South African universities, the USA, Europe, Russia and Asia, and collaborations with African (outside South Africa), and Australian institutes. The department will continue to pursue collaborations with cognate laboratories and research institutions to complement the current research capabilities and expertise in South Africa. There will be a deliberate effort to include student training and human capacity development in the collaborations. The department will pursue collaborations that are of mutual benefit for iThemba LABS and the collaborating partners.
The international collaborations such as the SA-CERN and SA-JINR collaborations also enables South African researchers to access facilities that are not available in South Africa, such as the LHC. South African researchers are playing an important role in these facilities where they not only participate in experiments, but propose and lead their experiments and also take on leadership roles such as the run coordinator roles in the ALICE detector at CERN.
Collaborations with African countries will primarily hinge on the activities of the environmental radioactivity laboratory. The monitoring of environmental radioactivity is needed in places where there has been any mining activity. Most African countries are rich in mineral resources and there has been extensive mining activities in these countries but do not have sufficient expertise to operate and maintain an environmental radioactivity laboratory equipped to measure low-level radiation. iThemba LABS can play a vital role in assisting the African countries in setting up environmental radioactivity laboratories, provide training in the operation of gamma ray detectors, and advice on data collection methods.