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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

Discovery in Scorpius constellation may signify clean energy for Earth
2017-01-23

 Description: Discovery in Scorpius constellation may signify clean energy for Earth Tags: Discovery in Scorpius constellation may signify clean energy for Earth

Earlier this year, a group of international astronomers
announced the discovery of an exotic binary star system,
AR Scorpii. The system is in the Scorpius constellation.
Photos: Supplied

See article on Nature’s website 

In future, stargazers and astronomers will look at the Scorpius constellation near the Milky Way with new eyes. Earlier this year, a group of international astronomers announced the discovery of an exotic binary star system, AR Scorpii. The system is in the Scorpius constellation.

Prof Pieter Meintjes, researcher in the Department of Physics at the University of the Free State (UFS), worked with four colleagues on what he describes as a “wonderful discovery”. This sensational discovery, which could lead to the production of cleaner energy on Earth, will be published in the research journal, Nature, early in 2017.

Model developed to interpret new set of measurements
The exotic binary star which was discovered consists of a red dwarf and a white dwarf revolving around each other every 3,5 hours. The binary system showed very prominent pulsations of 117 and 118 seconds respectively. The pulsations can be explained by a bundle radiation produced by the white dwarf star.

“These new observations have shown that the radiation is strongly polarised, a sign that we are dealing with synchrotron radiation here. Synchrotron radiation is produced by electrons accelerated to extremely high energy levels in the magnetic field of the white dwarf star,” says Prof Meintjes.

He developed a theoretical model to interpret a new set of measurements that was taken by the 1,9 m telescope and the 10 m SALT telescope at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAA0).

Totally unique phenomenon could contribute to energy production on Earth
“I further indicated that the interaction between the magnetic fields of the white dwarf star and the red dwarf star induces secondary processes that specifically describe the behaviour of the radiation in the radio band and infrared band accurately. AR Sco is the first white-red dwarf binary system of which all the pulsated radiation could be explained by the synchrotron process, which is totally unique,” says Prof Meintjes.

According to Prof Meintjes, the value of the model lies in the fact that the processes which produce the radiation in AR Sco, can also be applied to produce energy on Earth.

 

Plasma reactors are based on roughly the same processes which apply in AR Sco, and with refining, it could be utilised to generate electricity in future. This will be much cleaner than nuclear energy.

 

The model developed by Prof Meintjes explains all the radiation in the system – from radio waves to X-rays – in terms of electrons accelerated to extremely high energy levels by electric fields in the system, which then produce synchrotron radiation over a very wide band of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Prof Meintjes is currently working on a follow-up article examining the evolution of the AR Sco, in other words, the origin of such a unique system and the final state towards which it is evolving. “My vision for the immediate future is therefore to develop a model for the evolution of the source concerned,” he says.

 

 

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