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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

UFS student makes breakthrough in the application of nanorobots
2005-04-21

A student from the University of the Free State (UFS) has made a ground-breaking discovery in the field of microbiology by uncovering a series of new compounds that may in future be used to lubricate man-made nanorobots.

Mr Olihile Sebolai, a full-time student at the UFS’s Department of Microbial- Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, made this discovery while working on his M Sc-study on yeast.

With this discovery Mr Sebolai will also be awarded six prestigious prizes during this week’s autumn graduation ceremony at the UFS.  This university has recognised this exceptional achievement as a build-up to the celebration of national Science and Technology week next month.     

Mr Sebolai’s dissertation on the yeast genus Saccharomycopsis Schionning has been published in an accredited international journal of repute. 

“Words cannot describe how excited I am. I never expected to receive such recognition for my studies.  I am humbled by all of this,” said Mr Sebolai.

The Lipid Biotechnology Group at the UFS recently discovered that some yeasts produce their own water-propelled capsules in which they are transported.  These capsules have different shapes and resemble among others miniature flying saucers, hats with razor sharp brims etc.  “In order to function properly, parts of the capsules are oiled with prehistoric lubricants – lubricants that are produced by yeasts and that probably existed for many millions of years as yeasts developed,” said Mr Sebolai.  

According to Mr Sebolai these capsules are so small that approximately 300 can be fitted into the full-stop at the end of a sentence and are therefore invisible to the naked eye.

“With my studies I discovered many new compounds that resemble these prehistoric lubricants.  These lubricants may in future be used to lubricate man-made nanorobots and are similar in size compared to yeast capsules,” said Mr Sebolai.  The nanorobots are used to perform tasks in places that are invisible to the naked eye and could one day be used, among others, to clean up human arteries.

Mr Sebolai has been interested in the subject of Micro technology since he was at RT Mokgopa High School in Thaba ‘Nchu.  “I was specifically interested in the many possible applications the subject has – in the industry, as well as in medicine,” said Mr Sebolai. 

His next goal is to successfully complete his Ph D-degree.

The prizes that will be awarded to Mr Sebolai this week include:

Best Magister student at the UFS (Senate medal and prize);

Best Magister student in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Science and Dean’s medal at the same faculty;

The Andries Brink – Sasol-prize for the best M Sc dissertation in Microbiology;

The JP van der Walt prize for best M Sc dissertation in yeast science;

The Chris Small prize for an outstanding Master’s dissertation; and

Honorary colours awarded by the UFS Student Representative Council

Media release

Issued by:                     Lacea Loader

                                    Media Representative

                                    Tel:  (051) 401-2584

                                    Cell:  083 645 2454

                                    E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za

20 April 2005

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