The first K600 experiment for 2018 was performed at the beginning of June. The experiment, performed with 200 MeV protons, provided excellent data for a study of a particular vibrational mode of deformed Samarium nuclei. The local team was joined by scientists and students from the universities of Stellenbosch, the Western Cape, WITS and Zululand, as well as from further afield such as Botswana (BIUST) and Germany (TUD). While some experimental and beam-related challenges were experienced during the first of two extended beam periods, the experiment was successfully concluded with a very stable and good-quality beam in the second five-day beam period.
About 500 physicists gathered in Amsterdam, Holland, in April to discuss the prospects for this new more powerful accelerator. Prof Bruce Mellado was invited to give a plenary talk at the opening day, attended by the Director General of CERN and other leading members of the High Energy Physics community internationally. Prof Mellado discussed the possibility of attaching a small accelerator of electrons for head on collisions with the protons and heavy Ions of the FCC, which is referred to as the FCC-he option.
The Accelerator Department recently hosted two Ion Source physicists, Dr Sergey Bogomolov and Dr Andrey Efremov, from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, to collaborate on a project aimed at producing lithium ion beam from the external electron cyclotron resonance ion source (ECRIS). During the research visit, lithium ions, produced inside the ECRIS by means of the oven method were extracted, and ran stable for several hours.
Mathis Wiedeking and Peane Maleka visited colleagues at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) in Tanzania to finalize discussions on collaborative projects and on a formal agreement between the two institutes. The physics group at UDSM includes applied nuclear physics and material science and mutual research interests which are aligned with projects that are ongoing at iThemba LABS on environmental radiation, neutron activation and X-ray diffraction were identified. Agreement was also reached for a Memorandum of Understanding between UDSM and iThemba LABS.
The First Biennial African Conference on Fundamental Physics and Applications and the African School of Fundamental Physics and Applications June-July 2018, Windhoek, Namibia
This conference themed “African Conference on Physics, ACP2018” is the first of its kind in Africa! It is an international event including scientists from Europe, USA and Africa. It took place from 28 June to 4 July 2018 at Namibia University of Science and Technology.
iThemba LABS was represented at both the conference and the school, with plenary talks by the Deputy Director, Kobus Lawrie, on “Research at iThemba LABS and Long Range Plan” as well as by Zinhle Buthelezi (Senior Scientist, Department of Subatomic Physics), an invited speaker, who presented a talk titled “Overview of results from heavy-ion collisions at ultra-relativistic energies”. Siegie Förtsch (Senior Scientist, Department of Subatomic Physics) lectured on “Heavy Ion Experiments” at the school, which was attended by postgraduate students from institutes across Africa, some who are based at iThemba LABS.
The iThemba LABS ALICE team was at CERN in April – June 2018 to participate in the data taking and upgrade related activities. Zinhle Buthelezi (Senior Scientist) served as Run Manager for the ALICE Run Coordination. This is an important role in the experiment since it entails assisting the Run Coordination team with the daily operations of the experiment. Amal Sarkar (Postdoc) and Sibaliso Mhlanga (PhD student) took on-call shifts for the Muon Spectrometer. At the end of May 2018 Siegie Förtsch (Senior Scientist), Rony Kuriakose (electronics, INIT department) and Zinhle Buthelezi participated in the test beams for the upgrade of the ALICE Muon Tracking Chamber front-end electronics and readout at the CERN SPS.
On 30 May 2018 Z Buthelezi participated in the LHC Physics 2018 event themed “Facebook live on LHC physics season 2018 – What’s up LHC?” It was organized by the CERN Outreach group and streamed live on Facebook. The event is archived at https://www.facebook.com/cern/videos/1715712755182729/ and the article about the event is documented at http://alicematters.web.cern.ch/?q=content/node/1109.
A Women in Science event was held at iThemba LABS on Wednesday, July 11th. The event was hosted by an IEEE-sponsored school of instrumentation in Particle Physics. The event was organized and chaired by Professor Cinzia Da Via, from the University of Manchester, in collaboration with Professor Igle Gledhill from the University of the Witwatersrand and Dr Joyce Mwangama from UCT who also chairs the IEEE WIE (Women in Engineering) affinity group in Cape Town. Three prominent speakers addressed the audience: Prof Diane Grayson, from the University of the Witwatersrand, Dr Zinhle Buthelezi, from iThemba LABS and Dr Joyce Mwangama from UCT.
The event, aimed to encourage the discussion amongst men and women on issues related to biases in scientific working environments, was attended by the participants of the school, iThemba LABS staff members and a selected group of motivated learners and teachers from Thandukulu High-School.
The World Cultural Council (WCC) bestowed National Research Foundation (NRF)’s Professor Malik Mâaza with the JOSÉ VASCONCELOS World Award of Education for 2018 for his positive impact on the cultural legacy of mankind. The announcement of the award was made today, Monday 4 June 2018 at the City University of Hong Kong, while the award itself will be conferred to Professor Maaza at the 35th World Cultural Council Award Ceremony which will take place at the same venue on Thursday 8 November 2018.