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26 February 2019 | Story Eugene Seegers | Photo Eugene Seegers
Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Daniella Coetzee, South Campus Principal, Tshegofatso Setilo, Director Access, Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector Operations
Prof Francis Petersen, Prof Daniella Coetzee (Principal: South Campus), Tshegofatso Setilo (Head: Access Programmes), and Prof Prakash Naidoo (Vice-Rector: Operations) on the South Campus for the welcoming of first-years.


“Welcome to the South Campus of the University of the Free State!” Addressing a packed Madiba Arena, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said he was happy to see not only first-year students, but also parents and guardians, student leadership, and support staff from both the Bloemfontein and South Campuses.

 “I would like to congratulate each of our first-year students for making the decision to come to Kovsies to further your studies here. But I would also like to thank you for making this choice,” he continued.

Prof Petersen further emphasised that the students’ experience and success as individuals are important to the UFS as an institution; therefore, academic and support staff are on hand to guide them through their journey to becoming well-rounded individuals. “We will surely take care of you,” said Prof Petersen. He also reassured parents and guardians that their loved ones would be well looked after.

The Rector also focused attention on the role of student-leadership structures, such as the newly-formed Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) and South Campus SRC, members of which were present in the audience. He thanked them for playing a key role in the student constituency, highlighting their support and guidance to help first-years cultivate a sense of belonging at the UFS.

Turning back to first-year students, Prof Petersen stated that they have the unique opportunity to study on a campus specifically focused on developing their full potential, a campus where they can realise their dreams. “Your arrival on the campus marks a new chapter in your life. This chapter is slightly different, as you are the author thereof. The previous chapters in your life were largely written by others—your parents, guardians, families, teachers, and others. You will now be the main author in the next chapter of your unique story.”

“At Kovsies, we believe in developing students in their totality as human beings, not just the academic side. May your time with us equip you to make a success of your life after university!”

Prof Petersen’s Message to First-year Students
  1. Take responsibility for your academic programme.
    • Keep your focus. Study and study hard. You will reap the rewards and see the advantages of making success in your studies a top priority.
    • Make sure that you have enough time for your studies; balance your social life and your time set aside to study.
  2. Realise and remember that you are not alone.
    • If you find things difficult, seek help.
    • Our Department of Student Counselling and Development has trained staff and tailor-made programmes that can assist you.
    • Look after your mental health—and look after each other’s mental health.
  3. Make the most of your time at Kovsies.
    • Join one or more of the student organisations; why not try something new?
  4. Embrace difference and diversity.
    • Get to know students who are different from you.
    • You will lose valuable opportunities to grow if you only associate with your own all the time. It is important to get to know students who are different from you. It could be someone from a different part of the country, or from another country, a different ethnicity, a different religion, someone who has different views from yours, or who has different interests and perspectives.

News Archive

Einstein's gravitational waves as creative as Bach's music, says UFS physicist
2016-02-19

Description: Gravitational waves  Tags: Gravitational waves

Profile of the gravitational waves of the colliding black holes.

Prof Pieter Meintjes, Affiliated Researcher in the Department of Physics at the University of the Free State, welcomed the work done by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) science team.
 
For the first time, researchers from two of the American Ligo centres, in Washington and Louisiana respectively, observed gravitational waves directly, 100 years after Albert Einstein said they existed. "My study field in astrophysics involves relativistic systems. Therefore, Einstein's view of gravity is crucial to me. I consider the theory as the highest form of human creativity - just like the music of JS Bach. Over the past 100 years, the theory has been tested through various experiments and in different ways.
 
“The discovery of gravitational waves was the last hurdle to overcome in making this absolutely unfaltering. I am therefore thrilled by the discovery. It is absolutely astounding to imagine that the equations used to make the predictions about the gravitational-wave emissions when two gravitational whirlpools collide - as discovered on 14 September 2015 by LIGO - are basically Einstein's original equations that were published way back in 1916 - in other words, 100 years ago.
 
“The LIGO detectors have been operational since the early 1990s, but they had to undergo several stages of upgrades before being sensitive enough to make detections. LIGO is currently in its final stage, and is expected to function at optimal sensitivity only within a year or two. To be able to conduct the measurements at this stage is therefore a fantastic achievement, since much more funding will certainly be deposited in the project,” Prof Meintjes says.

Description: Prof Pieter Meintjes Tags: Prof Pieter Meintjes

Prof Pieter Meintjes
Photo: Charl Devenish

The search for gravitational waves by means of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is one of the focus points in research by both Prof Meintjes and PhD student, Jacques Maritz. This involves the study of radio signals from pulsars that might show signs of effects by gravitational waves. They are looking for signs of gravitational waves. The gravitational waves discovered and studied in this manner would naturally vary much more slowly than the signal discovered from the two colliding gravitational waves.
 
The discovery will definitely provide renewed impetus to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Project to use the dispersion of pulsar signals, and to search for the impact of gravitational waves on signals as they travel through the universe. According to Prof Meintjes, the SKA will definitely contribute fundamentally to the Frontier research, which will provide a good deal of publicity for the UFS and South Africa, if significant contributions are made by local researchers in this field.

Video clip explaining gravitational waves

 

  • The Department of Physics will present a general, non-technical talk concerning the recent detection of gravitational waves by the 2 Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatories (LIGO):

Wednesday 24 February 2016
11:00-12:00
New lecture auditorium, Department of Physics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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