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    NITheP Associate Prof Patricia Whitelock on eNCA 14 May 2014.

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    • Workshop on Behaviour of Matter at Extreme Temperatures and Magnetic Fields


      Prof Kip Thorne visit to NITheP

      Applications closed midnight 31 January 2018

      Topics for Internships

      Introduction to NITheP Internships and general information

      2018 05 16 Call is now closed

      2018 04 10 and updated on 2018 05 02

      The call for Internship applications for 2018 June/July Internships and November/December 2018 internships is now open.

      The deadline for applications to be submitted is 15 May 2018.

      For any questions or queries with regards to Internships, please contact Rene Kotze at

      The periods for internships are generally:

      - mid June to mid July each year
      - mid November to mid December each year

      This would typically be a three week period during the University recess aimed at:

      - Honours students
      - Beginning Masters students
      - Students are to be registered at a South African Institute at the time of applying for the internship
      - Preference given to South African citizens

      Please also note that internships at the home University of the student is to be avoided, and applications for students to visit other Universities will be given preference.

      *** Students are requested not to make direct contact with the Supervisors, until the process has been handled centrally by NITheP, which will then do the introduction between the parties after all applicants have been screened.

      Topic 1 Supervisor: Prof FG Scholtz (NITheP Stellenbosch)

      TITLE: Geometric Phases in Quantum Mechanics

      ABSTRACT: This project will study the origin and physical consequences of geometric phases in quantum mechanics, starting with the Aharonov-Bohm effect and its implications in terms of charge quantization in the presence of magnetic monopoles. This will be followed by a general study of Berry phases and their physical consequences.

      Topic 2 Supervisor: Prof FG Scholtz (NITheP Stellenbosch)

      TITLE: Instantons

      ABSTRACT: This project will focus on the role of instantons in the non perturbative computation of tunneling amplitudes in a path integral setting. The starting point will be the simple double well potential in one dimensional quantum mechanics and will include the study of the instanton solution to the equation of motion, fluctuations around this solution and the role of zero modes. Depending on the student?s background this may be continued to more advanced quantum field theory settings.

      Topic 3 Supervisor Prof Azwinndini Muronga (NMMU)

      TITLE: Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics

      ABSTRACT: The aim of the projects in this subject is to introduce students to particle physics, nuclear physics of dense matter and astrophysics.
      These three are connected by Einstein's theory of General Relativity.
      Students will discuss the physics of matter that is relevant to the structure, processes and dynamics of compact stars. This include the physics of nuclear matter, neutron star matter, quark matter, quark star matter, and the phase transition between them. Students will also study the transport process and the dynamics of the compact stars.

      Topic 4 Supervisor: Prof Azwinndini Muronga (NMMU)

      TITLE: Statistical and Thermal Physics of Hot and Dense Nuclear and Astrophysical Matter

      ABSTRACT: The aim of the projects in this subject is to introduce students to the applications of thermal and statistical physics to nuclear matter, quark matter, neutron stars, quark stars and dynamical processes in these systems. Systems of particular importance will be high-energy heavy ion collisions, high baryon density matter, high-energy astrophysical processes, compact stars, and cosmology.

      Topic 5 Supervisor: Prof Alan S. Cornell (NITheP WITS)

      TITLE Effective field theory study of B meson decays

      ABSTRACT: This project shall introduce the student to the study of semi-leptonic flavor changing neutral current B meson decays, together with the physics and phenomenology behind the study of B physics. This investigation will utilise an effective field theory approach, taking both the heavy quark limit and the large energy limit.

      Topic 6 Supervisor: Prof Herbert Weigel (SU)

      TITLE: Potential Scattering from Relativistic Wave-Equations

      ABSTRACT: Static background potentials can systematically be incorporated in relativistic wave-equations like the Klein-Gordon and/or Dirac equations.
      Techniques will be applied that reduce those problems to something similar to its non-relativistic analog, the Schrodinger equation for potential scattering.
      Also the analytic structure (with respect to complex momentum) of the scattering data will be investigated.

      Topic 7 Supervisor: Prof Robert de Mello Koch (WITS)

      TITLE: The Quantum Mechanics of the Lowest Landau Level

      ABSTRACT: In this project, the dynamics of electrons in the lowest Landau level is studied. First, a very pedestrian approach is used to motivate the correct form of the position operators. This is done by enforcing the condition that these operators map the lowest Landau level into itself.
      These results are then reproduced using Dirac's constrained quantization.

      Topic 8 Supervisor: Prof Daniel Joubert (WITS)

      TITLE: Introduction to Density Functional Theory

      ABSTRACT: Density functional theory is a reformulation of the multi-variate wavefunction description of quantum mechanincs to a description where the the groundstate probability density of the particles, a function of three variables, is the governing quantity. It offers an elegant approach to finding some groundstate properties of an interacting system of particles. In the Kohn-Sham formalism of DFT the interacting system is mapped onto a fictitious system of non-interacting particles with the same density as the interacting system and calculations are done for the fictitious non-interacting system, a computationally relatively simple system. The formalism is valid for statistical mixtures and therefore applicable to systems with fractional particle numbers, so-called ensemble density functional theory.

      In this project the discontinuity in the first functional derivative of the universal energy functional as a function of particle number at integer particle numbers will be investigated for an analytic model.

      Topic 9 Supervisor: Prof Azwinndini Muronga (NMMU)

      TITLE: Ultra-Relativistic Quantum Molecular Dynamics for Nucleus-Nucleus Collisions

      ABSTRACT: Relativistic heavy-ion collisions such as those at the RHIC and LHC proceed through several different phases, each of which requires a different dynamical approach. Beginning-to-end must, therefore, interface several physics components. During the earliest phase, quarks and gluons (collectively called partons) are liberated from the colliding nuclei and reassemble into a rapidly equilibrating matter, thereby creating most of the entropy produced in the collision. Realistic models of this phase, such as the Color Glass Condensate theory of gluon saturation provide the framework to generate the initial conditions for the subsequent fluid dynamic evolution. After achieving partial thermalization, the evolution of the matter can be described by models based on dissipative relativistic fluid dynamics, controlled by phenomenological transport coefficients and an equation of state. During the fluid dynamical stage the matter develops most of the finally observed collective flow, which therefore reflects the equation of state and transport coefficients of the dense partonic matter. The microscopic dynamics of this non-ideal fluid can alternatively be modeled with a covariant partonic Boltzmann transport equation. The comparison between the non-ideal fluid dynamics and microscopic transport models, with standardized initial conditions will yield valuable theoretical constraints on the equation of state and transport coefficients. During the fluid dynamic evolution the system will cool and eventually undergo phase transition to a gas of hadrons. The final phases of evolution involve the formation, expansion, and final decoupling of the hadronic gas. After hadronization, the dissipative fluid dynamical evolution must be replaced with a microscopic description of the final hadronic rescattering and decoupling processes, using known or well-constrained hadronic properties and cross sections. Finally, the hadrons freezes out and the resulting particles are detected by the detectors.

      The Ultra-relativistic Quantum Molecular Dynamics Model (UrQMD) will be used to study the final
      hadronic scattering state.

      The student will
      (i) perform simulations using UrQMD to generate the phase-space of the final hadrons
      (ii) analyze the observables such as particle multiplicity

      The student should read the following article
      For details about UrQMD model see

      Topic 10 Supervisor: Prof Azwinndini Muronga (NMMU)

      TITLE: Relativistic Fluid Dynamics for Nucleus-Nucleus Collisions

      ABSTRACT: Modeling the dynamic evolution of nuclear collisions in terms of fluid dynamics has long-standing tradition in heavy ion physics. One of the main reasons is that one essentially does not require more information to solve the equations of motion of ideal fluid dynamics. One only needs the equilibrium equation of state of matter under consideration. Once the equation of state is known and the initial conditions are specified, the equations of motion uniquely determine the dynamics of the collisions. Knowledge about the microscopic reaction processes is not required.

      In this project a student will

      (i) review the basic concepts and notions of relativistic fluid dynamics as applied to the physics of heavy-ion collisions.
      (ii) perform simulations using existing code to study the space-time evolution of the heavy ion collisions.

      Topic 11 Supervisor: Prof Andre Peshier (UCT)

      TITLE: SU(Nc)-quasiparticle thermodynamics

      ABSTRACT: QCD quasiparticle models have proven to be an appropriate framework to understand quantitatively thermodynamic properties of the strongly coupled quark-gluon plasma, which is the state of hadronic matter at high temperatures and/or densities. An objective of the project is to use an existing approach, developed and tested for the case of Nc=3 colors, to analyze recent numerical results from lattice QCD for various numbers Nc. This will allow us to consider the large-Nc limit and to relate to ongoing efforts to understand the system in terms of AdS/CFT.

      Topic 12 Supervisor: Dr Amanda Weltman (UCT)

      TITLE: 1+3 covariant formulation of the Weyl Tensor Trace Free Equations

      ABSTRACT: In this project we will explore the possibility that the Weyl tensor is the true gravitational degree of freedom. We will proceed using the 1+3 covariant formalism. The student would need to know basic general relativity and would learn about Trace Free gravity and the ADM formalism.

      [1] G F R Ellis (1971) “Relativistic Cosmology”. In General Relativity and Cosmology,
      Proc Int School of Physics “Enrico Fermi” (Varenna), Course XLVII. Ed. R K Sachs
      (Academic Press, 1971), 104-179. Reprinted as Golden Oldie:: Gen. Rel. Grav. 41, no
      3, 581 (2009) ]
      [2] George F. R. Ellis, Henk van Elst, Jeff Murugan, Jean-Philippe Uzan (2010) “On
      the Trace-Free Einstein Equations as a Viable Alternative to General Relativity”
      [3] G F R Ellis and M Bruni (1989): “A covariant and gauge-free approach to density
      fluctuations in cosmology”. Phys Rev D40, 1804-1818.
      [4] George F. R. Ellis, Rituparno Goswami (2012) Space time and the passage of time
      For Springer Handbook of Spacetime; arXiv:1208.2611.
      [5] C. Lanczos, Anns. Math. 39 (1938) 842
      [6] Roy Maartens, Bruce A. Bassett (1998) “Gravito-electromagnetism”
      Class.Quant.Grav.15:705 [arXiv:gr-qc/9704059]
      [7] Gerard ’t Hooft (2010) “Probing the small distance structure of canonical quantum
      gravity using the conformal group” arXiv:10009.0669v2

      Topic 13 Supervisor: Dr Amanda Weltman (UCT)

      TITLE: Stellar and galactic tests of chameleon fields.

      ABSTRACT: From all our observations to date, the Universe appears to be dominated by the dark sector - about 22% of the total energy in the Universe is Dark Matter, the clumpy stuff that holds galaxies together while the majority (73%) is Dark energy, the least well understood cosmological component that drives the accelerated
      expansion of the Universe today. Dark energy theories are notoriously difficult to test. In this project we will explore testing a particular dark energy theory - so called chameleon models - using astrophysical sources. The student would need to know basic GR and cosmology and would learn more about dark energy, dark energy models and astrophysics.

      Useful references include,,

      Topic 14 Supervisor: Prof Roy Maartens (UWC)

      TITLE: Interactions in the dark sector of the universe

      ABSTRACT: The Universe is dominated by the dark sector - Dark Matter (DM) holds the galaxies together, while Dark Energy (DE) drives the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe. Two of the biggest challenges in modern cosmology are to understand the properties of DM and DE and how they affect the evolution of the Universe. In this project, we will consider the possibility that DM and DE are not independent, as in the standard models, but interact with each other. Such an interaction leads to interesting new behaviour, and the idea can be tested against observations. The project will focus on setting up and solving (analytical and numerical) the equations that govern the evolution of the Universe for various models of interaction.

      Topic 15 Supervisor: Dr Kevin Goldstein (WITS) (aimed at Hons level student)

      TITLE: Conformal techniques in 2D Electrodynamics and Fluid Dynamics.

      ABSTRACT: The student will learn novel techniques for solving 2D classical problems as well as becoming familiar with the Conformal group which plays and important role in Quantum field theory and String theory. Some knowledge of Complex Analysis and Electrodynamics is required.

      Topic 16 Supervisor: Prof Francesco Petruccione, co-supervisor Dr Ilya Sinayskiy (UKZN)

      TITLE: Introduction to Quantum Computing

      ABSTRACT: The aim of this project is to understand the basic principles of quantum computing and quantum algorithms. The candidate will study gate models of quantum
      computing. On the algorithmic side the candidate will learn about Deutsch?Jozsa, Grover?s and Shor?s algorithm. The project involves a simulation part in which a factorization on a quantum computer will be emulated.

      Topic 17 Supervisor: Prof Francesco Petruccione, co-supervisor Dr Ilya Sinayskiy (UKZN)

      TITLE: Dissipative dynamics of a qubit under external driving.

      ABSTRACT: In describing real physical systems one should always take into
      account the influence of the surroundings. The study of open systems is particularly important for understanding processes in quantum physics.

      In this project we plan to study the dynamics of a qubit (building block of quantum information) interacting with an external magnetic field and a dissipative environment. The interaction with the heat bath will be treated as weak and we will use the Born-Markov approximation, which is perfectly justified for many situations in quantum optics. We will consider two cases of external driving. In the first case we will assume that the qubit interacts with the precessing magnetic field. In the second case we will consider periodic constant magnetic field. We will be interested in the dynamics of the coherence and occupation probability in the qubit subsystem.

      Topic 18 Supervisor: Prof Vishnu Jejjala (WITS) * only June July period not Nov Dec period

      TITLE: Kaluza-Klein theory

      ABSTRACT: Fundamental particles interact via the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism, and gravitation. The first three forces are described by the Standard Model of particle physics. String theory is the leading candidate for unifying all of the fundamental forces within a consistent framework. As a toy model for quantum gravity, we shall explore the unification of gravitation with electromagnetism.

      In addition to time and the familiar three dimensions of space, Kaluza-Klein theory extends general relativity to a fifth dimension, which is a circle. In this project, we will demonstrate that variation of the five dimensional action yields Einstein's equations for gravity in four dimensions together with Maxwell's equations for electromagnetism. In addition, there is now an extra scalar corresponding to the size of the extra dimension that explains how gravity couples to electromagnetism. We shall investigate the spectrum of solutions to the wave equation in the Kaluza-Klein setup. Finally, we will explore the geometry of Kaluza-Klein theory and examine its possible generalizations.

      Topic 19 Supervisor: Prof Azwinndini Muronga (NMMU)

      TITLE: Neutron Transport Theory

      ABSTRACT: In nuclear reactor theory one needs to understand the motion of neutrons in the reactor as they move about in the reactor core as they scatter off nuclei and eventually being absorbed or leak out of the reactor. In this project students will treat the motion of the neutrons as a diffusion process where the neutrons diffuse from regions of high neutron density to low neutron density. The students will be required to derive the neutron transport equation and hence the neutron diffusion equation.

      Topic 20 Supervisor Dr Giuseppe Pellicane (UKZN)

      TITLE: Gibbs ensemble Monte Carlo of nonadditive hard-disk mixtures

      ABSTRACT: This project will focus on the development of an efficient Monte Carlo code for simulating
      fluid phase coexistence, with no energetic bias determined by the presence of the interface,
      in 2D models of colloidal particles. The goal is to initially test the code against data available in the literature
      only for symmetrical hard-disks (i.e. hard disks of same diameter), and subsequently produce new data for
      the asymmetrical case. The new data will provide a benchmark for the predictions of integral equation theories
      of the liquid state.

      Topic 21 Supervisor: Prof Bruce Mellado and Prof Alan Cornell (WITS)

      TITLE: Higgs phenomenology at ep and e+e- colliders

      ABSTRACT: Given the recent successful discovery of a Higgs-like particle at the LHC last year, the study of the Higgs particle's phenomenology is an extremely topical subject at the moment. In this project the intern would simulate the production and decay of a Higgs particle in other possible collider environments, such as a high energy ep collider (like the proposed LHeC) or an e+e- collider. This project would also be under the supervision of Prof Mellado and Prof Cornell, where recent papers on this subject include:
      [1] e-Print: arXiv:1301.4965 [hep-ph] (
      [2] Phys.Rev.Lett. 109 (2012) 261801 (
      [3] J.Phys. G39 (2012) 075001 (
      [4] Phys.Rev. D82 (2010) 016009 (

      Topic 22 Supervisor Dr W A Horowitz (UCT)

      TITLE: Energy Loss in Perturbative Quantum Field Theories

      ABSTRACT: Derive formulae for the collisional and radiative energy lost by relativistic particles propagating through weakly-coupled plasmas in perturbative quantum field theories. Requires knowledge of the usual Feynman diagram techniques in QFT.

      Topic 23 Supervisor Dr W A Horowitz (UCT)

      TITLE: Phenomenological String Theory

      ABSTRACT: Apply the methods of the anti-de-Sitter/conformal field theory correspondence to compute formulae for the energy lost by relativistic particles propagating through a strongly-coupled plasma. Use string theoretic techniques in 5 dimensions to gain insight into the physics of strongly-coupled field theories in 4 dimensions. Requires knowledge of the methods of differential geometry/general relativity.

      Topic 24 Supervisor Dr H Cynthia Chiang (UKZN)

      TITLE: Searching for the echoes of Inflation

      ABSTRACT: Inflation is a cornerstone of the modern cosmological paradigm, and one of the greatest challenges is searching for robust observational signatures. One of the most exciting experimental probes is the polarisation of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), which encodes the ripples of gravitational waves generated by Inflationary expansion. After over a decade of experimental searches, this gravitational wave signature was recently detected for the first time by the BICEP2 experiment. This groundbreaking result has opened our first observational window into Inflationary energy scales associated with Grand Unification, which are orders of magnitude beyond the energy accessible to particle accelerators.

      This project will address the continued exploration of Inflationary physics with data from SPIDER, an experiment that will measure CMB polarisation with unprecedented sensitivity and fidelity. There are opportunities to develop computational techniques and software for analysing SPIDER's large data volume, as well as efficiently generating simulations that accurately capture instrumental systematics and noise properties.

      Topic 25 Supervisor Dr H Cynthia Chiang (UKZN)

      TITLE: Searching for cosmic dawn from the sub-Antarctic with SCI-HI

      ABSTRACT: Observations of redshifted 21-cm emission of neutral hydrogen are a
      rapidly growing area of cosmology research. At low frequencies, radio
      observations have the potential to open a new window on cosmic dawn,
      the era when the first stars ignited in the universe. SCI-HI is an
      experiment that is designed to study cosmic dawn by observing globally
      averaged 21-cm emission in a frequency range of 50-150 MHz. The
      instrument has deployed once to Marion Island, an exceptionally
      isolated and radio-quiet location in the sub-Antarctic, and a second
      deployment is planned for April 2017. This project will involve data
      analysis from the second SCI-HI deployment, including constraints on
      various models of star formation in the universe.

      Topic 26 Supervisor Konstantinos Zoubos (UP)

      TITLE: The Ising Model: Phase transitions and the renormalisation group

      ABSTRACT: In this project, the student will learn about the 2d Ising Model, one of the most important models
      in statistical mechanics, and, using it as a concrete example, understand how renormalisation group
      techniques can be applied to compute phase transitions and the corresponding critical exponents.

      (November/December Internship period)

      Topic 27 Supervisor Konstantinos Zoubos (UP)

      TITLE: Spin Chains and Quantum Integrability

      ABSTRACT: In this project, the student will learn how to solve the 1d Heisenberg Spin Chain and other
      quantum spin chain models using Bethe Ansatz and R-matrix techniques. If time allows, the link
      to quantum algebras will be touched on, as well as the relevance of this system to gauge theory
      and the AdS/CFT correspondence.

      (November/December Internship period)

      Topic 28: Supervisor Prof Jeff Murugan (UCT)

      TITLE: Knots of light

      ABSTRACT: Maxwell electrodynamics is famously a linear theory whose solutions we thought we've known since Maxwell himself. Recently however, a new set of topologically nontrivial solutions were found to the vacuum Maxwell equations that correspond to knotted and linked electromagnetic field lines. This remarkable development of classical electrodynamics brings together a number of branches of mathematics and physics including (but not limited to) classical solutions of the Maxwell equations, conformal transformations, the theory of quaternions and knot theory. In this project, you will study this new development and understand how to extend them further.

      Topic 29: Supervisor: Prof Kristian Müller-Nedebock (SU)

      TITLE: Topology in biological systems on the mesoscopic scale

      Topic 30 Supervisor: Prof Herbert Weigel (Stellenbosch University)

      TITLE: Topological Solitons

      ABSTRACT: In field theory (classical) configurations with localized energy densities are called solitons or solitary waves. Typically their total energy (integrated density) is larger than the vacuum energy. Hence for
      these solitons to be stable there must exist a particular mechanism that prevents them from decaying into the vacuum. Here conserved charges feature important, and in particular, topological charges are central. They
      are conserved because certain boundary conditions for the soliton cannot be continuously transformed to coincide with the vacuum configuration. Thus the conservation of topological charges is not conditioned by the equations of motion and the conserved current is not a Noether current. Solitons that are stable because their decay would violate the conservation of a topological charge are called topological solitons.

      The student will study a variety of topological solitons, for example the kink and sine-Gordon model in 1+1 dimensions, the isotropic ferromagnet and the Nielsen-Olesen string in 2+1 dimensions, or the 't Hooft-Polyakov monopole and the Skyrmion in 3+1 dimensions. The identification of topological charges with particle numbers will be discussed. Some basic concepts of topology will also be covered.

      Topic 31 Supervisor: Dr Shazrene Mohamed (SAAO)

      TITLE: 3D Models of Cosmic Explosions

      A nova is a very bright, energetic explosion that occurs when the surface layer of gas accreted by a white dwarf is ignited, leading to a thermonuclear runaway. Novae occur in binary systems and the source of the accreted material is typically a close main sequence companion or a more evolved star, e.g., a red giant. Although novae have been known for hundreds of years, there are still many important unanswered questions. In this project, detailed supercomputer simulations will be used to investigate both the nova explosion and the mass transfer phase that leads up to it.

      Topic 32 Supervisor Prof Hugo Touchette (NITheP Stellenbosch)

      TITLE: Monte Carlo simulations of rare events

      This project is an introduction to the use of Monte Carlo and importance sampling methods for simulating fluctuations and rare events of Markov stochastic processes, which arise in the modeling of many noisy physical processes in statistical mechanics, chemistry and biophysics. The project should consist of 4 parts: 1- Reading period on probability theory and stochastic processes; 2- Writing of basic programs (in C, Matlab or Fortran) simulating stochastic processes; 3- Learning about and implementing importance sampling for simulating rare events; 4- Studying relevant applications in physics.

      Topic 33 Supervisor: Prof Peter Dunsby (UCT)

      TITLE: The cosmology and astrophysics of f(R) dark energy

      ABSTRACT: This project will study the cosmology and astrophysics of one of the leading alternatives to the standard description of Dark Energy. Topics include exploring the dynamics of the expansion history, the growth of large scale structure and Cosmic Microwave Anisotropies, constructing models for stars and the nature of gravitational waves in these theories. Students are required to have some background in General Relativity and basic cosmology.

      Topic 34 Supervisor Dr. Alvaro de la Cruz-Dombriz (UCT)

      TITLE: Gravitational waves in extended theories of gravity

      ABSTRACT: In the context of extended gravity theories, it has been shown that the apparent mass of neutron stars as seen from an observer at infinity is numerically calculable but requires careful matching, first at the star’s edge, between interior and exterior solutions, none of them being totally Schwarzschild-like but presenting instead in general small oscillations of the curvature scalar R ; and second at large radii, where the Newtonian potential is used to identify the mass of the neutron star. Thus, because the neutron star masses can be much larger than General Relativity counterparts, the total energy available for radiating gravitational waves could be of order several solar masses, and thus a merger of these stars constitutes an interesting wave source. This internship intends to explore a very active research field after the LIGO collaboration results and the forecast with AdvLIGO, which mey help to unveil the nature of the underlying theory of gravity using an unexplored window of data.

      Topic 35 Supervisor: Prof Denis Pollney (Rhodes University)

      TITLE: Gravitational waves from exotic matter sources

      ABSTRACT: Recent discoveries of gravitational waves from black hole binaries were a strong validation of general relativity in the strong-field limit. To fully constrain the theory, however, it is necessary to establish whether sources other than classical black holes might potentially generate analogous signals. For example, boson stars are an exotic matter source that arise in certain scalar-tensor gravity theories. They provide a dynamical strong-field probe of relativity while avoiding many of the complications (in particular shocks and
      discontinuities) that arise in other fluid models. This project would involve using a computational model to understand aspects of the gravitational wave signature of boson star interactions.

      Topic 36 Prof Heribert Weigert (UCT)

      TITLE: Wilson line correlators in high energy Quantum Chromodynamics

      ABSTRACT: QCD, the theory of strong interactions lies at the core of many phenomena observed at modern collider facilities such the LHC at CERN. The study the Quark Gluon Plasma aims directly at a phase transition in the early universe hidden behind the veil of the cosmic microwave backgroud, and the intricacies of the theory make it the main source of uncertainties in precision tests of the Standard Model of particle physics and searches of new physics beyond it. At the energies employed to access all these questions experimentally entirely new phenomena emerge within QCD such the Color Glass Condensate (CGC). The project itself aims at techniques necessary to study CGC dominated phenomena. The degrees of freedom involved are color group valued fields, whose correlators drive many observables. In my group we have developed new methods to describe the correlators efficiently. Group theory and symbolic algebra tools are an essential ingredient. The students can participate in many ways: by working with our mathematica toolset to obtain new corrections to the leading approximations used to date, by streamlining and packaging the existing code base, or by applying existing tools to new observables. The scope is wide and any participant is guaranteed to acquire new skills.

      Comments or questions?

      Should you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please feel free to discuss by contacting Rene Kotze.

      Travel Grants

      Please complete the online application form on this page if you wish to apply for a NITheP Travel Grant.

      Please be sure to read the below Terms and Conditions.

      Terms and Conditions for NITheP Bursary holders

      •Each student is responsible for organizing his/her flight, accommodation, visa etc.

      •NITheP will financially support such a visit to the maximum of R15,000 per annum (this includes both local and international conferences/schools/conferences)

      •All relevant documents must please be submitted before your application will be considered. (e.g. Proof of registration for conference/school/workshop).

      •30 days after your trip you will need to submit a report on your visit. If this is not done, NITheP may ask you to refund the money paid out to you.

      ***Please note: the NITheP Travel Grant Programme is only available to current NITheP Bursary holders***

      Terms and Conditions for Post Docs employed by NITheP

      • Once your application has been approved, please liaise with the secretary at your NITheP node in order for any logistical arrangements to be made.

      • All relevant documents must please be uploaded along with your application before your application will be considered. (e.g. Proof of registration for conference/school/workshop etc).

      • 30 days after your trip you will need to submit a report on your visit.

      ***Please note: the NITheP Travel Grant Programme is only available to current Post Docs employed at one of the NITheP Nodes***

      Chris Engelbrecht Summer School 2016

      Björn Schenke (Brookhaven National Laboratory)

      James Lattimer (State University of New York at Stony Brook)

      Andreas Schmidt (University of Southhampton, UK)

      18-19 September 2014, NITheP Stellenbosch node

      Prof Konstantinos Zoubos (UP)

      Dr Jonathan Shock (UCT)

      Dr H. Cynthia Chiang (UKZN)

      Prof Jonathan Sievers (UKZN)

      Prof Mark Tame (UKZN)

      21 - 31 January 2014 Chris Engelbrecht Summer School

      Prof Herbert Weigel (Stellenbosch University)

      Prof Hugo Touchette (NITheP)

      Prof Michael Kastner (NITheP)

      Prof P Fendley (Univertisy of Virginia, USA)

      Prof H Reinhardt (Tübingen University, Germany)

      Prof H Reinhardt (Tübingen University, Germany)

      Prof Heribert Weigert (UCT)

      Prof N S Manton (Cambridge University, UK)

      Prof A. P. Balachandran and Prof Sachindeo Vaidya (Centre for High Energy Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore)

      Prof David Gérard-Varet (Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu, Université Paris 7)

      Prof W Kinney (University of Buffalo, USA)

      Prof T Heinzl (Plymouth University, UK)

      Prof T Heinzl (Plymouth University, UK)

      Prof T Heinzl (Plymouth University, UK)

      Prof T Heinzl (Plymouth University, UK)

      Prof T Heinzl (Plymouth University, UK)

      15 - 24 January 2013: Chris Engelbrecht Summer School

      Link to the lectures and School's website:

      P Ajith: Introduction to approximation methods in General Relativity

      P Ajith: Introduction to approximation methods in General Relativity

      P Ajith: Introduction to approximation methods in General Relativity

      P Ajith: Introduction to approximation methods in General Relativity

      Lecture 5

      Lecture 5

      P Ajith: Introduction to approximation methods in General Relativity

      P Ajith: Introduction to approximation methods in General Relativity

      S Husa: Numerical Relativity

      S Husa Numerical Relativity: Black Holes

      NR BlackHoles

      S Husa: Numerical Relativity

      S Husa: Numerical Relativity

      S Husa: Numerical Relativity

      Y Levin: Gravitational wave astrophysics using pulsar timing, from Hulse-Taylor to SKA

      Y Levin: Gravitational wave astrophysics using pulsar timing, from Hulse-Taylor to SKA

      Y Levin: Gravitational wave astrophysics using pulsar timing, from Hulse-Taylor to SKA

      Y Levin: Gravitational wave astrophysics using pulsar timing, from Hulse-Taylor to SKA

      I Mandel: GW Astrophysics of Compact Binaries

      I Mandel: GW Astrophysics of Compact Binaries

      A Sintes-Olives: Gravitational wave astronomy: data analysis


      A Sintes-Olives: Gravitational wave astronomy: data analysis

      A Sintes-Olives: Gravitational wave astronomy: data analysis

      Lecture 3


      A Sintes-Olives: Gravitational wave astronomy: data analysis

      M Tiglio: Introduction to General Relativity

      18 - 28 January 2012: Chris Engelbrecht Summer School

      26 - 28 October 2011: Workshop on Foundations of Quantum Theory: measurement, the quantum to classical transition, and the flow of time

      Andrew Briggs (University of Oxford)

      Caslav Brukner (University of Vienna)

      Paul Davies (Arizona State Unversity)

      George Ellis (University of Cape Town)

      Christopher Fuchs (Perimeter Institute)

      Serge Haroche (Ecole Normale Supérieure & Collège de France)

      Sir Peter Knight (Kavli Royal Society International Centre And Imperial College London)

      Thomas Konrad (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

      Thomas Konrad (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

      Andrew White (University of Queensland)

      International Workshop on Nuclear Physcis

      Eric Anderson (The Ohio State University)

      Bruce Barrett (University of Arizona)

      Carlos Bertulani (Texas A&M University) (Part 1)

      Carlos Bertulani (Texas A&M University) (Part 2)

      Angelo Calci (TU Darmstadt)

      Richard Casten (Yale University)

      Heather Crawford (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

      Regina de Azevedo (University of Arizona)

      Van Zyl de Villiers (NECSA)

      Jacek Dobaczekski (University of Warsaw)

      Hans Feldmeier (GSI)

      Fritz Hahne (AIMS)

      Anna Hayes (LANL)

      Meredith Howard (Rutgers University/ORNL) (Part 1)

      Meredith Howard (Rutgers University/ORNL) (Part 2)

      Meredith Howard (Rutgers University/ORNL) (Part 3)

      Elena Litvinova (GSI)

      Witold Nazarewicz (University of Tennessee)

      Steven Pain (ORNL) 1

      Steven Pain (ORNL)

      Steven Pain (ORNL)

      Steven Pain (ORNL)

      Steven Pain (ORNL)

      Thomas Papenbrock (University of Tennessee)

      Thomas Papenbrock (University of Tennessee) (Hands on Session)

      Thomas Rodrigues (GSI)

      Robert Roth (TU Darmstadt)

      Jimmy Rotureau (University of Arizona)

      Haik Simon (GSI)

      Ionel Stetcu (University of Washington)

      Bira van Kolck (University of Arizona)

      Jochen Wambach (TU Darmstadt)

      Sherry Yennello (Texas A&M)

      Prof Harald Fritzsch

      Here are the archived copies of the lectures

      Lecture 1

      Lecture 2

      Lecture 3
      Part 1: and
      Part 2:

      Lecture 4

      Lecture 5

      Lecture 6

      Lecture 7
      { Hardware cabling error caused this recording not to be successful }

      Lecture 8

      Lecture 9

      Chris Engelbrecht Summer School, held at the Stellenbosch Hotel from 19 to 30 January 2011

      Yuri Dokshitzer, Paris (1)

      Yuri Dokshitzer, Paris (2)

      Yuri Dokshitzer, Paris (3)

      Yuri Dokshitzer, Paris (4)

      Harald Fritzsch, Germany

      Jean Iliopoulos, Paris

      Boris Kayser, FNAL (Section 1)

      Boris Kayser, FNAL (Section 2)

      Boris Kayser, FNAL (Section 3)

      Boris Kayser, FNAL (Section 4)

      Boris Kayser, FNAL (Section 5)

      Paul Langacker, Princeton (1) QED and the Fermi Theory.

      Paul Langacker, Princeton (2) The Weak Interactions of Hadrons.

      Paul Langacker, Princeton (3) The Standard Electroweak Model.

      Paul Langacker, Princeton (4) The Z, the W, and the Weak Neutral Current.

      Paul Langacker, Princeton (5) The CKM Matrix and CP Violation.

      Paul Langacker, Princeton (6) The Higgs: Problems with the Standard Model.

      Paul Langacker, Princeton (7) History of the Weak Interactions.

      Hans Peter Nilles, Bonn (2.1)

      Hans Peter Nilles, Bonn (2.2)

      Hans Peter Nilles, Bonn (2.3)

      Hans Peter Nilles, Bonn (3)

      Hans Peter Nilles, Bonn (5)

      Antonio Pich, Valencia (QCD Problems)

      Antonio Pich, Valencia (1)

      Antonio Pich, Valencia (2.1)

      Antonio Pich, Valencia (2.2)

      Antonio Pich, Valencia (3.1)

      Antonio Pich, Valencia (3.2)

      Antonio Pich, Valencia (4)

      Antonio Pich, Valencia (5)

      Stuart Raby, Ohio

      The Physics of Exceptional Points 2 - 5 November 2010

      Opening by Dieter Heiss, Stellenbosch

      Holger Cartarius, Weizman (1)

      Holger Cartarius, Weizman (2)

      Pavel Cejnar, Prague (1)

      Pavel Cejnar, Prague (2)

      Eva-Maria Graefe, Imperial College (1)

      Eva-Maria Graefe, Imperial College (2)

      Uwe Guenther, Dresden (1)

      Uwe Guenther, Dresden (2)

      Roland Lefebvre, Orsay

      Alexei Mailybaev, Moscow (1)

      Alexei Mailybaev, Moscow (2)

      Nimrod Moiseyev, Technion

      Achim Richter, Darmstadt/Trento (1)

      Achim Richter, Darmstadt/Trento (2)

      Achim Richter, Darmstadt/Trento (3)

      Raam Uzdin, Technion

      Jan Wiersig, Magdeburg (1)

      Jan Wiersig, Magdeburg (2)

      Guenter Wunner, Stuttgart (1)

      Guenter Wunner, Stuttgart (2)

      Miloslav Znojil, Prague (1)

      Miloslav Znojil, Prague (2)

      Prof. Kip Thorne

      TITLE: Gravitational-Wave Observatories, and the Quantum Mechanics of Human-Sized Objects

      Date: Monday 22nd of November 2010
      Time: 15:00
      Venue: NITheP Stellenbosch Seminar room

      ABSTRACT: The gravitational-wave window onto the universe will likely be opened, in the coming decade, in four different frequency bands. Thorne will briefly describe the astrophysical motivations for the current large effort to open this window, and will then discuss in the various technologies and techniques that underlie that effort, with special emphasis on LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, which he co-founded. Thorne will also describe plans for using LIGO technology to carry out quantum mechanics experiments on human-sized objects, including creating quantum correlations between 40kg mirrors 4km apart, and putting them into Schrodinger-cat states.

      In order to view this video, please click on the below link.

      Opportunity to visit Antarctica

      ICTP Internship application form

      Applications are hereby invited for the NITheP and ICTP Internship program.

      This programme is aimed at students that are currently enrolled at South African Universities.

      Level: MSc or PhD (1st or latest 2nd year)

      Duration: Student will spend two months at the ICTP

      ICTP is an International Scientific Centre working under a tripartite agreement among the Italian Government, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It is administered by UNESCO under which it is considered to be a UNESCO Category 1 institute.

      NITheP is a South African National Institute, administered as a Centre of Excellence (CoE) and co-hosted by Stellenbosch University (SU), the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

      Original deadline: 29 February 2016
      New extended deadline: 9 May 2016 - Applications now closed

      What is Theoretical Physics?

      Launch of National Science Week

      NITheP was one of the many exhibitors at the event. The Minister Hon Naledi Pandor and many other dignitaries attended the event. A total of 4300 learners attend the opening ceremony and visited the stalls to learn about all the various opportunities available to them.

      Prof Azwinndini Muronga, Director of the UJ Soweto Science Centre brought a group of 11 Soweto learners to attend the event too. The groups was also invited to view a private show of the Digital Planetarium whereafter Prof Matie Hoffmann from UFS lead them to do a few calculations eg how high a certain solar flare is estimated to be, and how to determine the distance of a planet away from earth. On the Saturday evening the group went to Boyden Observatory to learn about the history of Boyden, the various old telescopes and also a discussion on the various constellations in the sky that night. Thereafter Prof Muronga gave a talk on what Theoretical Physics is and why it is important to be studied.

      Thank you to Prof Matie Hoffmann and Patricia Lamusse from the University of the Free State for all their arrangements. Thank you to SAASTA for the sponsorship of the accommodation. Thank you to Prof Azwinndini Muronga for safely transporting the learners to Mangaung and back.

      SAIP conference UJ July 2014

      Prof Azwinndini Muronga and Dr Joseph Kirui relaxing and chatting at the end of a long week!

      SAIP President Prof Igle Gledhill, Dr Will Horowitz, Prof Alan Cornell and Rene Kotze at the NITheP stand at the SAIP UJ exhibition stand during July 2014.

      Job shadowing July holidays 2014

      Calib Buckton, Gr 11 learner from Stellenberg High School visited NITheP on 25 and 26 June 2014.

      Yasmeen Brown, Gr 11 learner from Norman Henshilwood High School visited NITheP on the 14th and 16th of July 2014.

      Daniel Frier, Gr 11 from Settlers High School visited NITheP on 16 and 18 July 2014.

      Michaela Wannamaker Gr 11 from St Cyprian's school visited on the 18th, 21st and 23rd of July 2014.

      Maties 2013 Outreach Action to West Coast Schools

      Josh Abraham does job shadowing

      27 September 2013: Joshua Abraham, Grade 12 learner from Pinelands High

      Josh Abraham spent one day between NITheP and Stellenbosch University Physics Department doing job shadowing.

      Here is some feedback on Josh's experience: "The opportunity that NITheP offered me provided me with an eye opening and informative experience. The people I encountered were really friendly and helpful, feeding me with information that gave me a better understanding of the field of physics and the seemingly endless possibilities that it holds. I can’t quite remember the names of the people who showed me around, but that’s probably because they made the things they were showing me just so much more interesting. I’m truly grateful to NITheP for giving me this opportunity, especially Rene Kotze. Thank you."

      Eskom Expo winners 2013

      Johannesburg, 27 September 2013

      Congratulations to the two learners that won the NITheP Prizes for Best Physics and Best Mathematics projects. They were:

      Best Maths Project:
      Sam Pothier (Pinelands High, Grade 11)

      Best Physics Project
      Carla Prins (Lebone College, Grage 6)

      The math prize was given to Sam Pothier from Pinelands High School in Cape Town with a project called "Cubes and Spheres".Sam is in Grade 11. The physics prize went to Carla Prins (Grade 6) for a project called Magnets and Electricity. The NITheP judges were impressed with her demonstrations and ability to discuss the physics of electricity and magnetism at such a young age. It was also felt that they showed a lot of potential.

      The NITheP judges were:
      Garreth Kemp (PhD student)
      Nkuleleko Nokwara (PhD student)
      Stuart Graham (PhD student)

      NITheP wishes to express its gratitude towards the three judges for their personal time and effort in assisting with the judging.

      Feedback from Carla about her project

      My expo journey (Written by Carla Prins)

      We were working with magnets and electricity in class but on a very basic level and I was so intrigued and fascinated that I decided to research more. From then I spent most of my spare time online researching. I found lots of information but one thing that I couldn’t understand was the relationship between magnets and electricity. The more I researched, the more complex things got, so I scheduled interviews with some of the teachers at school hoping that they could help clear things up. After all this I came to the conclusion that it is the ferromagnetic particles inside a magnet that has the ability to attract and repel the electrons inside a conductor and that electrons also act like little magnets themselves. After I learned this I thought the science expo would be the perfect opportunity to showcase what I have learned. I then decided the main question I should investigate is: What is the relationship between magnets and electricity?

      During the process I came across three famous physicists that helped me come to a conclusion. The first is Michael Faraday and his law on induction. It states that the more coils you have the more electricity is able to be generated. This is because, a magnet has a field and when you move it in and out of a wire solenoid, the coils cut through the field creating a disturbance, movement, in the electrons which creates electricity. The second famous physicist is Heinrich Lenz. His law says that whichever way you move the magnet, the current will oppose and move in the opposite direction. The last physicist is John Ambrose Fleming and his left hand motor rule. This taught me that when you hold your thumb, index finger and middle finger all 900 to one another; and you point your index finger in the direction of the magnetic field, your middle finger in the direction of the current, then your thumb will indicate the direction of the thrust or force that the conductor experience. If I think about the little motors that I made, I learned that the spinning of the motor can be explained by looking at Fleming’s rule. Faraday’s Law on the other hand explain why many coils were needed before my motor worked.

      I really enjoyed my time at the expo because I got a chance to experience the high level of the other projects, and others who were also just as keen on science as I am. I believe this boosted my confidence to keep on investigating and learn as a scientist. It was also difficult at times because I had to learn that even when you are sick you sometimes have to push through and still do your best. I would have loved for everything to be perfect for the duration of the expo, but sometimes it’s not. At first I was on the ethics violation list for having branded names on my project, luckily I could fix it quickly. I think the most important thing to remember, is to keep calm and see if it is possible to fix your mistakes. During my research I came across a futuristic car based on these ideas. I would like to investigate and see if it is possible to build a model showcasing these ideas.

      I would like to thank L.Prins, H.Prins, N.Mbele, M.Murrungweni and S. Immelman, from Lebone College, for all their support. I would also like to thank The National Institute for Theoretical Physics for the wonderful prize they have given me and also for the opportunity tos hare my experience with them.

      Carla Prins
      Grade 6
      Lebone II College of the Royal Bafokeng

      Feedback from Sam about his project (written by Sam Pothier)

      If you take a science subject at my school in grade eleven, you need to do something for the Science Fair. I knew that maths projects were allowed and as I enjoy maths, I chose to do one. Mine was about multi-dimensional geometry, which sounds impressive but is really just applying principles I had learnt throughout school. The project was called Cubes & Spheres, and focused on finding ratios and patterns in these shapes, which I could represent as formulae or functions, and potentially expand to include more than three dimensions - the most interesting part.

      At school my mark wasn’t great but it was just enough to give me a spot at the regional expo. Not expecting to do particularly well, but improving my project as much as I could all the same, I chose to go. Everything went well and to my surprise I was awarded a gold medal, giving me the opportunity to go to the national expo in Joburg with about 30 other Cape Town medallists. The prospect of my work being scrutinised by the country’s experts was fantastic and, hoping it would be worth half the school holidays, I decided to take part.

      After minor corrections to my regional work, my project was complete (again) and I was off to Joburg, feeling hopeful. The accommodation - with Patrick, my classmate - was very good and after a long time of judging and much more waiting, the Special Awards came. The prize for the “Best Mathematics Project”, from the National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NITheP), was announced and I had won. All my work had paid off. Thanks to all the supervisors of the Cape Town delegation, my maths teacher and NITheP, for everything.

      Sam Pothier
      Grade 11
      Pinelands High

      Grade 11 learner from Bishops Diocesan College does job shadowing project at NITheP

      Byron Meyer, a Grade 11 learner from Bishops in Cape Town, spent two days learning about Physics and Theoretical Physics.

      On Thursday Byron spent the day with a number of students and faculty of the Stellenbosch University Physics Department. He visited various Labs where he learnt about the fields of study and research being done there. Byron was introduced to a number of Faculty, with whom he spent time discussing and learning about the various fields available within the vast field of Physics.

      On Friday Byron spent the day at NITheP, in particular with Dr J Diener. Dr Diener is a theoretical physicist and his work focuses mainly on neutron stars and the description of these stars’ magnetized interior. Dr Diener is also an excellent role model who can excellently explain the career paths available and also what the options and requirements would be in order to excel in the field of Theoretical Physics.

      Below is an excerpt of the feedback received from Byron after the intervention:

      "I thoroughly enjoyed the experience organized for me by NITheP. On my first day I went to the University of Stellenbosch’s Physics faculty and experienced 3 different fields of physics. I first met with some students specialising in laser physics. I found the both theoretical and experimental side of this field very captivating. Secondly I explored the different research done the nuclear physicists and I was amazed by how vast the reach of this field was. Lastly I spoke with Lee Boonzaaier, a theoretical physicist who is doing research on the physics of how polymers interact with other polymers. This really opened my eyes as to the reach of physics as I had never previously heard of research into the physics of biological processes.

      On my second day I spent most of my day with Dr Jacobus Diener, a theoretical physicist. He showed me a bit of his research and how he did it, but he talked to me a lot about the day to day aspects of the career and gave a great insight into the traits and mentality required to succeed in this career.

      Thanks so much to Rene Kotze for organizing this eye opening experience for me. I hope to continue to learn about this field and I am going to seriously consider pursuing a career in physics."

      Field Theory Summer School (pre HP2013)

      Field theory summer school (pre HP2013) at UCT

      Dear Heads of Department and Colleagues,

      We are happy to announce that the University of Cape Town will host a summer school on high energy particle physics from October 30 - November 3. An excellent group of international lecturers will cover a broad range of theoretical and experimental topics relevant to the Hard Probes 2013 conference, for which this is a pre-conference school. Our goal for the school is to specifically provide students and young researchers including academic staff at South African institutions an opportunity to broaden their skills and to profit from attending the conference.

      We specifically target
      • young African students
      • junior academic staff interested in the topic even without prior experience

      and would ask you to specifically forward this to potential candidates as well as to post the poster attached.

      Support for young scientists to attend the Hard Probes conference is tied to attending the summer school, so we expect an exciting mix of both South African and international participants at the school. The first two days of the school, Oct 30 - Oct 31, are dedicated to African students and will cover foundational material. The last three days of the school, Nov 1 - Nov 3, will concentrate on subjects relevant to practicing young experimental and theoretical Hard Probes physicists.

      Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, we will cover the local accommodation costs during the school and the transportation costs to Stellenbosch for the start of the conference. All participants of the summer school are highly encouraged to apply for support for the conference, which may take the form of a reduced registration fee and/or support for local accommodations in Stellenbosch during the conference. Special consideration will be given to women and applicants from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. There is also limited support for travel to Cape Town for students and young researchers from historically disadvantaged institutions.

      Since the number of places at the school is limited, we urge all that are interested to apply early. An application packet should include a CV, a brief description of the applicant's current research project, and a letter of recommendation from their supervisor or postdoctoral mentor. The packet should be sent to the summer school secretary, Mrs. Margaret Maich, at

      Further information and any forthcoming updates can be found at

      Please forward this notice to any potentially interested parties, and if you have any questions feel free to send them to Mrs. Margaret Maich at

      Best regards, Heribert Weigert and W.A. Horowitz for the LOC
      phone: +27 21 650 4706; fax: +27 21 650 3342;

      postal: A/Prof. H. Weigert, director CTMP, University of Cape Town;
      Dept. of Physics, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa;

      Grade 11 Pupil from Normal Henshilwood High does Job Shadowing at NITheP

      Melissa Joy Leonards does Job Shadowing at NITheP

      Dr Gillian Arendse (iThemba LABS) organised an intervention for a Grade 11 learner from Norman Henshilwood High School in Constantia, to experience the following fields within the Sciences:

      • Particle
      • Medical physics
      • Radiochemistry
      • Nanotechnology
      • Materials research
      • Laser physics
      • Theoretical Physics

      Melissa spent a few hours at NITheP receiving guidance by PhD student Jaco van Zyl. Here Melissa learnt about the following:

      • What careers options are be available
      • Study route to take if interested in the subject
      • Other interesting information about theoretical physics and examples of technology available today

      The total intervention took place between 17 to 21 June.

      In the photo below Melissa can be seen observing a discussion amongst Stellenbosch University students Janusz Meylahn and Paul Williams (not in picture) , currently doing an internship at NITheP also under the guidance of PhD student Jaco van Zyl..

      Melissa's visit to NITheP was co-ordinated by Dr Gillian Arendse (iThemba LABS).

      Please find below the testimony received from Melissa after the intervention:

      "Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to job shadow at NIThep. Although it was short it was very informative and Jaco van Zyl kind of convinced me that being a theoretical scientist is the best. So a big thank you to him for taking the time to explain what he does; it was really interesting and helpful. Also, thank you for organizing the tour of the library. With much thanks, Melissa Joy Leonards".

      Thohoyandou Science Tube Beyond Borders exhibition

      Great new initiative taking place in Limpopo, annual event hosted by SCIENCE-tuBE

      DATE: 20 - 24 May 2013
      VENUE: Thohoyandou Town Hall
      PROVINCE: Limpopo

      This event is a continuation of successful exhibitions that SCIENCE-tuBE organized since its inception in 2010, and Thohoyandou has been proven beyond any doubt that it is an ideal place for exhibition such as this one. SCIENCE-tuBE and the DOE Vhembe District has been working together very well on these and other projects.

      01 March 2013, SCIENCE-tuBE organized a world-class DR MATH Launch for the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and CSIR, with about 2000 school learners attending the event.

      The exhibition in the Thohoyandou Town ran as follows:

      20-22 May 2013 Exhibition at the Town Hall

      23 May 2013 Community Outreach. Exhibitors visited 5 local hospitals, orphanages and special school among other places within 50 km radius from Thohoyandou.

      24 May 2013 Exhibition at the Town Hall

      SCIENCE-tuBE expected around 6000 learners and general public to attend the Thohoyandou exhibition.

      The contact person for SCIENCE -tuBE is Livhuwani Masevhe
      079 112 3425

      The below feedback was received from Ndinae Mashutha, one of the students that took part in the exhibition and assisted in hosting the NITheP exhibition stand.

      "We are honored for being part of a new idea which is being introduced to kids at an early stage, this is because what kids learn here in rural schools is that from high school science we only learn medicine, mixing chemicals and engineering which of cause there is nothing wrong with it, but those are not the only fields a child can study. The first day at the hall was hectic as we were also starting this kind of work, we got our first a group of students and tried to simplify in a nutshell what NITHEP really is, then after that talk students were more interested in the money (bursary) how you get, do you return it?, Is it for fees?.. etc. judging by that respond we had it in us that we should try a new approach in this talking to this kids. The first thing is that student were not familiar with the word theoretical physics, did not know how it plays a role in nature and of cause in their lives, some of the famous theoretical physicist like Michio Kaku, Hawking and others were new words to them. And for that first day it was tough to devise such a summary very fast.
      The following day after finding the posters you sent us we kind of found a nice and sharp idea to really make them get what NITHEP’s goals are and why this institution, then we kind of put it in all sorts of ways we made to get them excited and listen too which was a breakthrough, we had to tell them how theoretical physics can be so cool and fun just like any other field in science, then from there a few questions started rising, some asked if they can formulate their own equations in life, which sectors will they offer jobs for people in this field, how theoretical physics help with the NDP goal and more question raised on why NITHEP does not offer an undergraduate bursary and some school were more focused on seeing the experiments than listening, so it was quite hard to get them to really here the wonders of being a theoretical physicist.
      A few things we would like to add on hosting a thing like this we should bring posters of some of the local and international theoretical physicist with at least one or two equations they made on those posters; this can also inspire many by just seeing that. And maybe do a video of what some of the equation can do which is similar to what happens in real life".

      Great thanks goes to Dr Eric Maluta (Physics Department, University of Venda) for coordinating and hosting the NITheP stand, and Prof Josheph Kirui (Head of Department) for his support - big thanks to you both for your loyal support as always.

      Ndinae Mashutha

      Here Ndinane (who wrote the above feedback), is busy with a lively discussion and busy explaining what Theoretical Physics is all about.



      Group from University of Groningen visits NITheP

      25 students from the University of Groningen visited South Africa for a period of three weeks. The visit was funded and organised completely by the efforts of the students. The main aim of the visit was to give the students a wide field of background on various topics and institutions, in order to assist them when time comes to make career/study choices.

      A few of the placed visited was:

      iThemba LABS
      Stellenbosch University

      At NITheP, the DIrector Prof Frederick Scholtz welcomed the group. Then 4 talks followed giving the students a taste of the various fields within Theoretical Physics.

      The students also got to see a little bit of the South Africa country side and they were particularly excited about their trip to the Kruger National Park.

      More photo's of their trip can be viewed here:

      Maties 2012 Outreach Action to Overberg Schools

      Maties 2011 Outreach Action to West Coast Schools

      Mission: Outreach - The Why and the How of It

      Article about Outreach by Perimeter

      Road Trip to the Physics departments of University of North-West, University of Venda and the University of Limpopo

      During August 2011 the Physics departments of three Universities were visited:

      University of North-West (Mafikeng Campus)
      University of Venda
      University of Limpopo

      Presentations were made to the Head of Department of each university, along with staff and students from each department. Students and faculty had an opportunity to learn about all that NITheP has to offer and ask any questions that may exist.

      Prof Azwinndini Muronga talks with learners from the Astroquiz Limpopo Province Finals

      During the recent Road Trip that NITheP made to the University of North-West, Venda University and University of Limpopo, Prof Azwinndini Muronga had an opportunity to talk with the learners from the Astroquiz Round 3 and 4.

      The Astroquiz was Round 3 and 4 and was the Limpopo Province Finals. The Astroquiz was staged by Vuwani Science Resource Centre and is funded by DST/SAASTA.

      Job Shadowing request received from Jason Barella (Grade 11 pupil)

      Jason Barella at IMT

      Jason Barella submitted a request to "Job Shadow" with a Theoretical Physicist, being one of his choices of possible future career.

      Faith February, who works both in the fields of Theoretical and Experimental at the Institute for Maritime Technology ( in Simonstown hosted Jason for two days 16 and 17 August 2011.

      Jason is a Grade 11 pupil at the Table View High School in Cape Town. Jason particularly excels in Mathematics and Physical Sciences with scores in the high 90's. The learners were given a "Work Shadow Project" with the aim of being exposed to the world of work and to give them a glimpse of what the job might be like as a possible future career.

      The two days went well and Faith ensured that Jason was exposed to different application areas within IMT. Jason enjoyed his two days at IMT and "gained a lot of knowledge and good experiences". He says the people at IMT were "friendly and hospitable".

      We congratulate someone as young as Jason who takes the bold step to say what they want and to go after it. Well done Jason! We wish you all the best with your career decisions in the future.

      If there are other learners like Jason out there, and Theoretical Physics is what excites you, then give us a call and we'll arrange the same for you.

      Science Adventure Camp at Boyden Observatory and Science Centre in Bloemfontein

      Huge success! Trip enjoyed by all!

      NITheP and the UJ Science Centre (Faculty of Science University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus), hosted 5 learners to attend the 2011 Boyden Camp. They were:
      Lynette Ntuli
      Relebohile Sibeko
      Marcus Madumo
      Rejoice Ratlhallane
      Ernest Khotso

      Prof Azwinndini Muronga, the Director of the UJ Science Centre, drove the students from Soweto to Bloemfontein where they stayed at the Retief Camp site next to Maselspoort from the 7th to the 9th of July 2011.

      The Programme included demonstrations (biodiesel synthesis), team building activities and various lectures from micro organisms to physics and maths activities. There was an exciting rocket building and launching on the last day and was enjoyed by all. NITheP would like to thank Prof Matie Hoffman for inviting NITheP to be part of this exciting outreach event. We hope to do the same again next year!

      Please view our Gallery page for some photo's of the learners.

      Presentation "What is Theoretical Physics"

      Benefits NITheP offers to Theoretical Physics students

      NITheP offers various programs and opportunities to students:

      Internships (duration 3 weeks during June/July and November/December periods) as well as Travel grants are available for bursary holders. Applications for bursaries are invited from students at the Masters, and PhD level. For more information click on the tabs on the Students and Outreach page.

      NITheP staff members are available for supervising theses on the Honours, Masters, and PhD level. If you are interested, please browse for topics under Research Programmes and contact the relevant staff members directly.

      Two NITheP bursary holders and UKZN NITheP node supervised students win prestigious prizes

      Ryan Sweke won:
      2013 S2 A3 Medal Scholar

      Adriana Marais won:
      2013 L'Oreal-UNESCO fellowships for women in sub-Saharan Africa who have excelled in science.

      Here are links to articles that have been written about them:
      Credit to UKZNDABAonline and journalist Barrington Marais (article for Ryan Sweke).

      Ryan Sweke:

      Adriana Marais:

      (Credit to Mail and Guardian and journalist Sarah Wild)

      Congratulations to both the NITheP bursary holders with their outstanding achievements. Also, huge congratulations to the NITheP UKZN node with Prof Francesco Petruccione as their Supervisor and Dr Ilya Sinayskiy as their co-supervisor.

      Rotondwa and Thendo travel to Europe!

      25 August to 7 September 2013

      Rotondwa Mudau (Msc Nuclear Physics at UJ) and fellow student Thendo Nemakhavani undertook a two week long trip that was divided into two one week long trips, between Budapest, Hungary and Frankfurt, Germany respectively.

      Upon arrival on Monday morning in Budapest, they were fetched from the airport and driven to the Wagner Institute of Particle and Nuclear Physics where the students were given half an hour to 'rest' because they needed to get to work. The students met and discussed the program for the week, had lunch at 12:30 and got to learning after lunch! The very first presentation was given by Prof Tamas Biro. Rotondwa and Thendo resorted to espresso's to combat the fatigue that comes after 12 hours of flying and a hearty lunch!

      The next few days consisted of the rest of the group presenting their work to the group and having discussions about it. These discussions were very helpful as one was able to get input from experts or retouch on the basics for those who didn't understand.

      The students found Budapest to be a really nice old city with very friendly people and a rich history. After hours they toured around and had a dig into the amazing food and sweets. They even managed to exchange recipes!

      On Saturday the 31st of August Rotondwa and Thendo rushed off to the airport, headed for Frankfurt. This was an experience and a half for them pushing bags from the Frankfurt airport in and out of trains until they eventually got to the guest house. From the guesthouse they headed to a birthday party that was on the other side of Frankfurt! The Frankfurt trip was not a formal one, so they were given an office in which they worked on their individual work. They also scouted for people who were doing similar work as them and had discussions with them. The students could not leave Germany without tasting the renown German beer so they made sure to go out and have some!

      All in all this two trips were eye opening. It was amazing to see how people do their work in other countries. Also it opened channels for some collaborative work.

      Rotondwa and Thendo would like to thank Prof Azwinndini Muronga for giving them the opportunity to go with him. Also thanks to Prof Tamas Biro and the team in Budapest and Prof Carsten Greiner, Ioannis Bouras and the team in Frankfurt for being available (for any kind of questions) and being hospitable!

      Caption for the photo below:
      Front row (Left to right) : Zsuzsanna Szendi, Prof Azwinndini Muronga, Rotondwa Mudau, Prof Tamas Biro
      Second row(Left to right): Péter Ván, Thendo Nemakhavhani, Miklós Horváth

      Caption for the photo below:
      On the left (front to back): Prof Carsten Greiner, Rotondwa Mudau, Ioannis Bouras
      On the right (front to back): Andrej El, Prof Azwinndini Muronga, Thendo Nemakhavhani

      Opportunities for PhD and MSc students with South African based Researchers (NITheP Associates and staff)


      This page has been created after numerous requests for a portal to be created where Supervisors can advertise opportunities, and where Students can advertise what they are searching for.

      If interested to advertise your information, then please send an email to René Kotzé at renekotze[at] and your information/advertisement will be placed after being screened.

      Prof Steven Karataglidis (University of Johannesburg/SA CERN/University of Melbourne)

      Many opportunities and projects are available for work in Nuclear Theory. The main thrust of the research is the interplay between Nuclear Structure and Nuclear Reactions, and how that interplay works to explain existing data in scattering and other experiments. Also, the work relates directly to the structure of exotic nuclei, those nuclei far from stability, and how that knowledge is also applied to Nuclear Astrophysics.

      There are collaborations with experimental programmes at RIKEN (Japan), GANIL (France), CEA/Saclay (France), and GSI (Germany) for the analysis of scattering data from exotic nuclei. Most recently, an exciting new programme, measuring the electron scattering from exotic nuclei, has begun at RIKEN, with physicists from RIKEN and Tohoku University. Such data will elicit information about the proton (charge) density of exotic nuclei, particularly the isotopes of Sn and Xe. Together with analyses of proton scattering data, such information will finally allow a complete picture of exotic nuclei to be constructed.

      Another main avenue of research involves a collaboration with the University of Melbourne, Australia, the INFN, Italy, the University of Manitoba, Canada, and Curtin University, Australia. That project is the Multi-Channel Algebraic Scattering (MCAS) Project, which is a new method for solving the underlying equations describing low-energy nucleon-nucleus and alpha-nucleus scattering. It has been successful in describing data even from nuclei beyond the drip lines (nuclei which decay immediately by either proton or neutron emission), and has direct relevance in describing processes in nucleosynthesis.

      The final main avenue of research is in Mathematical Physics, involving asking questions of fundamental aspects/assumptions of nuclear physics. This has direct bearing also on some fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics and density functional theory.

      Topics include:
      1) Nuclear Structure (Shell model based) of stable and exotic nuclei. Large space, no core, models in particular.
      2) Low-energy scattering (MCAS).
      3) Electron scattering from exotic nuclei.
      4) Intermediate energy nucleon-nucleus scattering.
      5) Nuclear astrophysics. (Nuclear-structure questions.)
      6) Fundamental aspects of nuclear physics, analytic density functional theory, and quantum mechanics.

      Prof Allan Joseph Medved (Rhodes University)

      Dr Fabio Cinti (NITheP Stellenbosch node)

      Dr H.Cynthia Chiang (Department of Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal)

      Searching for the echoes of inflation in microwave background polarisation

      Inflation is a cornerstone of the modern cosmological paradigm, and one of the greatest challenges is searching for robust observational signatures. One of the most exciting experimental probes is the polarisation of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), which encodes the ripples of gravitational waves generated by inflationary expansion. If detected, this polarisation signal opens our first observational window into inflationary energy scales associated with Grand Unification, which are orders of magnitude beyond the energy accessible to particle accelerators.

      Experiments over the past decade have made significant strides in the search for the gravitational wave signature, with a possible first detection by the BICEP2 experiment. This project will address the important next step of independent confirmation by additional observations that have increased electromagnetic, angular, and spatial coverage. SPIDER is a balloon-borne telescope that will measure CMB polarisation with unprecedented sensitivity and fidelity, and the instrument will launch from McMurdo Station, Antarctica in December 2014. The data analysis will present a wide range of challenges, as extracting the minuscule cosmological signal requires extraordinary care and precision. There will be numerous opportunities to develop computational techniques and software for analysing the large data volume, as well as efficiently generating simulations to perform statistical tests on the self-consistency of the data.

      Weighing neutrinos with lensed CMB polarisation

      The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is a snapshot of the universe in its infancy, and at fine angular scales, the CMB is gravitationally lensed by large-scale structure. This lensing introduces a faint twist or "curl" in the polarisation of the CMB, which encodes a wealth of information and can potentially constrain the mass of neutrinos and the nature of dark energy.

      The aim of this project is to work toward the goal of improved neutrino mass constraints with data from the South Pole Telescope polarimeter (SPTpol). SPTpol was the first experiment to detect the lensed signature in CMB polarisation, and the instrument is still continuing to take data. There are opportunities to develop computational techniques and software for analysing SPTpol data and for performing simulations to assess instrumental systematics and noise properties.

      Dr. W. A. Horowitz (Department of Physics, University of Cape Town)

      Opportunities for the supervision of NITheP internships as well as Honours, MSc, and PhD students. See for some sample projects. Significant travel funding is currently available.

      Prof Hugo Touchette (NITheP Stellenbosch node) MSc and PhD Supervision (with bursaries) available

      Prof Alessandro Sergi (School of Physics, UKZN Pietermaritzburg)

      Opportunity for Supervision of Honours and PhD/MSc students

      Topics: Quantum dynamics of
      i) spins in thermal baths;
      ii) opto-mechanical excitations on the nano-scale.

      Methods: Computer simulation of
      i) quantum mechanics in phase space;
      ii) non-Hermitian quantum mechanics.

      Visit the page:

      Students looking for opportunities with Supervisors


      This page has been created after numerous requests for a portal to be created where Supervisors can advertise opportunities, and where Students can advertise what they are searching for.

      This section is aimed at Students who are looking for a Supervisor to place their interest and contact information.

      If interested to advertise your information, then please send an email to René Kotzé at renekotze[at] and your information/advertisement will be placed after being screened.

      Many Manda Bertin

      Congratulations to Many Manda Bertin, he is now being supervised by Dr Skokos (Department of Mathematics at UCT), a researcher in nonlinear analysis.

      RFP Call: Application form for Mobility

      Please complete the online form.
      Deadline 7 September 2015

      Please contact Rene Kotze should you encounter any difficulty with submitting your application.
      Also any suggestions towards more fields that should be created are also most welcome.

      RFP Call: Application form for Visitors

      Please complete the online form.
      Deadline 7 September 2015

      Should you have any trouble submitting the form, please do not hesitate to contact Rene Kotze.
      Any suggestions for improvements are also welcome.

      RFP Call: Application form for Workshops

      Please complete the online form.
      Deadline 7 September 2015

      Should you have any trouble submitting the form, please do not hesitate to contact Rene Kotze.
      Any suggestions for improvements are also welcome.

      RFP Call: Application form for Special courses

      Please complete the online form.
      Deadline 7 September 2015

      Should you have any trouble submitting the form, please do not hesitate to contact Rene Kotze.
      Any suggestions for improvements are also welcome.

      NRF TWAS 2016 Doctoral call

      Guid for NRF TWAS call

      Outside funded bursaries

      Condensed Matter Theory Group University of Antwerpen

      Invitation to Researchers Condensed Matter Theory Group University of Antwerpen

      Dr Jules Morand (NITheP Stellenbosch node) Seminar