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06 March 2020 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Dr Ocaya
Dr Richard Ocaya’s research addresses the skills development and transfer millennium goal of many governments globally.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution becoming a reality, Dr Richard Ocaya’s research is receptive to the fact that Africa and the world need to re-imagine their research. His research focuses on electronic instrumentation design for scientific measurements, computational physics on atomic nano-atomic structures, and semiconducting organic compounds materials built on silicon to realise Schottky devices.

Software developer 
“I develop most of the instrumentation that I apply in my research – both software and hardware,” said Dr Ocaya, a Physics Lecturer and Programme Director: Physics and Chemistry on the UFS Qwaqwa Campus.

“I am active in scientific computing through the computing cluster and software development, mathematical physics for material science modelling, and embedded instrumentation design using microprocessors. I also have deep interest in radio and data telemetry, in which I hold a South African patent issued in 2013. My present international collaborations are with like-minded researchers in similar fields in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Japan, Egypt, South Korea, and the United States,” he added.

How does his research talk to the real world?
“The driving principle of all areas of my research has always been to deploy cutting-edge research to actual, real-world applications for the immediate betterment of Africans. The areas of my research align closely with the millennium goals of many governments globally, including the Republic of South Africa. These goals pertain to skills development and transfer that position us to better address the challenges of energy, water, and other priorities.”

Dr Ocaya is currently co-promoting a PhD student, having previously supervised one PhD, two MSc, and more than twenty honours students. He is a self-taught electronics and computer programmer, whose curiosity led him to question ‘the voices and music coming from a box; a radio’. “In my quest to satisfy my curiosity, I collected many discarded devices, took them apart, and tried so many circuits, only to have them fail because the theory was lacking. After thousands of failed projects and with me barely thirteen and in lower secondary school, my first ever project actually worked,” he said.

NRF-rating
He is the author of the book Introduction to Control Systems Analysis using Point Symmetries: An application of Lie Symmetries, which is available in all major bookstores such as Amazon, in both print and e-book format. He is a C3 NRF-rated researcher whose work makes a pioneering contribution to the new and growing field of phononics, an independent field of the now established photonics.

“This field will someday lead to improved energy-storage devices and faster processors due to more efficient heat removal from nanodevices,” he concludes.


News Archive

Nominations for Kovsie Alumni Awards
2010-07-08

It is once again time to nominate candidates for the three Kovsie Alumni Awards annually presented by the University of the Free State (UFS).
Nominations are awaited for the Kovsie Alumnus of the Year Award, Cum Laude Award and the Alumni Award for Exceptional Service to the UFS.
The Kovsie Alumnus of the Year Award honours the outstanding achievements of a Kovsie alumnus on national or international level. The Cum Laude Award is occasionally bestowed on an alumnus for outstanding service or achievement at regional, national or international level in his/her field of work. The Alumni Award for Outstanding Service to the UFS is occasionally made to any person (not necessarily an alumnus) who has rendered exceptional service to the university.
Any alumnus can submit a written nomination for the above-mentioned awards. At least five other alumni must second the nomination. A comprehensive motivation and brief Curriculum Vitae of the candidate must accompany the nomination. The candidate’s full address and telephone number must also be provided.

Nominations can be submitted to Annanda Calitz, Alumni Awards, PO Box 2319 Bloemfontein 9300 or 086 629 6820 or ficka@ufs.ac.za . The closing date for submission of nominations is 23 July 2010.

Last year the winner of the 2008/09 Kovsie Alumnus of the Year award was Mr Gert Grobler. Dr Gert Marincowitz and Sekoati Tsubane (Kabelo in 7de Laan) received the Kovsie Alumni Cum Laude Award. Prof. Johan Grobbelaar, Senior Professor at the Department of Plant Sciences and Prof. André Venter, Chief Specialist at Paediatrics and Child Health, both received the Kovsie Alumni National Executive Award.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
8 July 2010
 

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