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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

An astrophysics pioneer at Kovsies
2014-01-05

Prof Pieter Meintjes

Over the last decade Prof Pieter Meintjes’ strong background in astrophysics led to the development of a course of excellence at the University of the Free State.

Today we present an Astrophysics degree at our university, from first-year courses to PhDs.

Meintjes matriculated at the Sybrand van Niekerk High School in Sabie and completed a BSc in Physics and Mathematics at the North-West University in 1988. In 1990 and 1993 he respectively obtained his MSc and PhD in Physics from the same university.

Hereafter he spent a post-doctoral year at the Max Planck Institute for Space Science near München in Germany. In January 1997, Meintjes was appointed as a senior lecturer at our university’s Department of Physics. He was promoted to Professor in Physics in 2008.

Prof Meintjes is a member of the South African Institute for Physics (SAIP) and during 2002-2004 he was also co-chair of the astrophysics and space science group of SAIP. He serves on the executive committee of the National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) and is often a visiting lecturer at the University of Cape Town. He is a NRF-supported researcher and author and co-author of 70 publications in high-profile international journals and published conference issues.

During 2011-2013 he successfully delivered three PhD students along with one MSc student. His PhD students also delivered addresses at international conferences in Champery (Switzerland), Heidelberg (Germany), Paris (France), Barcelona (Spain) and Milan (Italy), Cape Town and the Kruger Game Reserve.

Over the last two years he has also been the author and co-author of six publications in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), as well as various publications in the Astrophysical Journal in support of the international planet search programme. A further 12 publications also came forth from Meintjes’ international conference contributions.

During the recent H.E.S.S. meeting in Namibia, Meintjes was appointed as the latest member of the highly-regarded international cooperation with H.E.S.S.

His membership of the H.E.S.S. group is due to his knowledge on gamma rays, which entails research on high-energy astrophysics.

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