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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

Student excels at international level with research in Inorganic Chemistry
2015-09-21


Carla Pretorius is currently conducting research in
Inorganic Chemistry at the St Petersburg University,
Russia.

Photo:Supplied

Carla Pretorius completed her PhD in Inorganic Chemistry recently, with a thesis entitled “Structural and Reactivity Study of Rhodium(I) Carbonyl Complexes as Model Nano Assemblies”, and has just received her results. The assessors were very impressed, and she will graduate at the next UFS Summer Graduation in December 2015.

She is currently conducting research in St Petersburg, Russia, by invitation. She is working in the group of Prof Vadim Kukushkin of the St Petersburg University, under a bilateral collaboration agreement between the groups of Prof Kukuskin (SPBU) and Prof André Roodt (Head of the Department of Chemistry at the UFS).

Her research involves the intermetallic rhodium-rhodium interactions for the formation of nano-wires and -plates, with applications in the micro-electronics industry, and potentially for harvesting sun energy. She was one of only three young South African scientists invited to attend the workshop “Hot Topics in Contemporary Crystallography” in Split in Croatia during 2014. More recently, she received the prize for best student poster presentation at the international symposium, Indaba 8 in Skukuza in the Kruger National Park, which was judged by an international panel.

Carla was also one of the few international PhD students invited to present a lecture at the 29th European Crystallographic Meeting (ECM29) in Rovinj, Croatia (23-28 August 2015; more than 1 000 delegates from 51 countries). As a result of this lecture, she has just received an invitation to start a collaborative project with a Polish research group at the European Synchrotron Research Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France.

According to Prof Roodt, the ESRF ID09B beam line is the only one of its kind in Europe designed for time-resolved Laue diffraction experiments. It has a time-resolution of up to one tenth of a nanosecond, after activation by a laser pulse 100 times shorter (one tenth of a nanosecond when compared to one second is the equivalent of one second compared to 300 years). The results from these experiments will broaden the knowledge on light-induced transformations of very short processes; for example, as in photochemical reactions associated with sun energy harvesting, and will assist in the development of better materials to capture these.

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