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Department of Chemistry moves into world-class facilities
2008-05-16

 

Attending the opening of the first and second phases of the Department of Chemistry's upgraded research facilities on the Main Campus of the UFS in Bloemfontein are, from the left: Prof. André Roodt, Head of the department, Prof. Herman van Schalkwyk, Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS, and Ms Tania van Zyl, Architect from Goldblatt Yuill Architects in Bloemfontein.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

UFS Department of Chemistry moves into world-class facilities

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Chemistry recently moved into the first and second phases of the southern wing of the upgraded Moerdyk and annex building in which the department is situated. The wing is part an extensive project to upgrade the building and its facilities.

At a total costs of R40 million for the upgrading of the building and R30 million for the equipment, this is the biggest project of its kind in the history of the UFS.

The upgrading is taking place in four phases, of which the largest part is the southern wing. Researchers and undergraduate students recently moved into this part of the building, which consists of the first- and second-year laboratories. The laboratories consist of, among others, larger and safer venting and research-focused facilities as well as enough storage for the department’s equipment. Although one of the water-cooling systems on the roof of the building recently caught fire, all classes, practical and research work is going ahead without any disturbance.

“The putting into service of the first two phases is a milestone for the department. The project is almost half way and, when it is completed by the middle to end of 2009, we will boast with some of the best research and undergraduate laboratories in the country. It will also increase our leadership in advanced training on the continent and will strengthen the UFS’s role in the international chemistry arena,” says Prof. André Roodt, head of the department.

According to Prof. Roodt advanced research on fuel and nano particles (this is particles as big as one hundred thousandth of a human hair strand) will be conducted in the completed laboratories as part of the UFS’s research cluster initiative. Other research such as anti cancer remedies, research on various chemical processes and research on biological pharmacological remedies will also be done.

“During the past three years the department has made a significant impact on research in chemistry worldwide. Our academics are publishing in some of the world’s foremost chemistry journals and various presentations are made at international conferences. The upgraded facilities will ensure that we continue building on our high quality research and it will also ensure that our students can compete with the best in the world,” says Prof. Roodt.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
16 May 2008

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