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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

Highlights of South Campus
2017-01-18

Description: ACT online South Campus Tags: ACT online South Campus

Description: South Campus new residence Tags: South Campus new residence

Description: South Campus supplementary school Tags: South Campus supplementary school

We look back on 2016 to pick out the outstanding achievements of our three campuses. Here is a selection of headlines from the South Campus.

Fully online Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT)

In July 2016, the South Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) became the first in South Africa to introduce an online platform for teachers to obtain the Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT). This unique platform, entirely online, provides teachers the opportunity to complete these certificates faster than before.

First residence for UFS South Campus
In the second semester of 2016, a new residence, named Legae, was opened on the South Campus, with 146 double rooms and 17 kitchens. The new residence accommodates 250 undergraduate and 20 postgraduate students and has 270 beds, 20 single-bedroom flats, 12 additional single rooms, as well as eight laundry rooms and a drying area. Since the UFS strives to cater for differently-abled people, this residence has two rooms available on the ground floor of Block C for differently-abled students.

The residence is also the first at the university that has a grey-water system installed. This water will then be reused for toilet flushing as well as for irrigation purposes on the campus.

South Campus supplementary schools foster future Kovsies
The Monyetla Bursary Project, in partnership with the UFS and other sponsors, presents an annual Winter School for Grade 12 learners on the South Campus. In addition, a Saturday school for Grade 12s has been in operation since 2007.

“Champion teachers in the district assist learners”

Each Saturday, 650 learners attend the classes. Chris Grobler, a science teacher at Navalsig High School in Bloemfontein, who organises both schools, says: “The 1 200 learners at the Winter School came not only from the Free State but from as far as the North West province, Gauteng, and Eastern Cape. We are very pleased about this, as it means that the image of the UFS is being carried further afield.”

A special feature included in this year’s programme was interpreting services in South African Sign Language (SASL) for deaf students.

 

 

 

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