60th Annual Conference of the South African Institute of Physics (SAIP)

The Department of Physics at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University together with the Department of Physics at Rhodes University recently hosted the 60th Annual Conference of the South African Institute of Physics (SAIP) at the Boardwalk Convention Centre.  This very successful conference was attended by 440 delegates from 8 countries, including South Africa, Austria, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Sweden, USA and Tanzania.  South Africa accounted for 97% of the delegates.

As part of the programme, the local organising committee initiated a public outreach programme consisting of 3 lectures.

The first public lecture by Dr Don Mingay, entitled “The conflict in climate change”, was presented on Tuesday 30 June at the Boardwalk Convention centre. Dr Mingay’s rather controversial view on the cause of climate change was thoroughly enjoyed by over 300 members of the public and resulted in heated debate after his presentation. On the evening of Thursday, 2 July, Dr Japie van Zyl from NASA held more than 500 members of the public spell-bound in his presentation “Exploring the Universe:  The Search for Signs of Life”.

As an outreach to senior science learners from Port Elizabeth and surrounding areas, Prof Andrew Forbes from the University of the Witwatersrand presented a lecture entitled “Light Fantastic” to teachers and senior science learners from this region. Almost 300 scholars from various schools as far as East London attended this fascinating presentation on the applications of light in modern society. 

“It is hoped that the success of this conference will promote the study of physics and encourage its applications” says Prof Andre Venter, Head of the Department of Physics, NMMU, and co-chair of the local organising committee.  “We are also delighted that five of our own post-graduate students received awards at this year’s event.

Public Lectures

Award Winning Students

Five students from the Physics Department, NMMU won Awards at the recent South African Institute of Physics annual conference, hosted at the Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth. 

Mr Ross Dix-Peek won the Best Poster Awards for a Honours student for Applied Physics, while the other four students won Awards in the Physics of Condensed Matter and Materials section.

 “Being surrounded by the different fields in physics was both exciting and stimulating, further inspiring my love of the subject.” said Ms Bereneice Sephton who won the Most Outstanding Poster Award for Honours students, while Ms Danielle Venter won the Highly Recommended Poster Award for Honours Students.  “The annual SAIP conference this year was truly an educational wonder and I feel honoured to have been a part of it."  Said Danielle.

Ms GenevĂ©ve Deyzel was awarded the MSc Oral Award for the best oral presentation by an MSc student in the field of Materials. "I feel glad, fortunate and honoured to have won the prize for best MSc oral presentation within my division, which was the largest division at the conference. I found the conference interesting, since you are exposed to so many different fields within Physics."   

The highest award of the division for Physics of Condensed Matter and Materials, the Goodfellow Award based on a publication in a scientific journal originating from a Doctoral Thesis submitted at a South African Institution for Tertiary Education, was awarded to Dr Zalalem Urgessa.

Contact information
Prof André Venter
Associate Professor and Head of Department
Tel: +27 41 504 2579/4584