of Cape Town
of Maths and Applied Maths
African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO)
University of Cape Town, on the slopes of Devil's Peak, overlooking Table
A research and student
exchange program in astronomy, physics, and materials science.
Projects | Courses and Training | Faculty
of the Western Cape
of Physics & Astronomy
Telescopes at CTIO
University is located near downtown Nashville.
Planning Meeting -- March 2007
Faculty from Vanderbilt University and South Africa’s University
of Cape Town (UCT) met March 4-7, 2007, in Cape Town to discuss how to
work together and to brainstorm initial possibilities for research and
- Physics and materials science
- Overview of Physics at UCT [Craig Comrie, UCT]
- Physics at University of the Western Cape [Daniel Adams, UWC]
- UCT Research in Solid State Physics [David Britten, UCT]
at UCT [Peter Dunsby, UCT]
- Materials Science at Vanderbilt [James Dickerson, VU]
- Theory Research at Vanderbilt [David Ernst, VU]
- Student programs and exchanges
- Astronomy research collaborations and facilities
- Outreach programs in South Africa
Numerous promising research collaborations in astronomy and physics were
identified. Two collaborations in particularone in 'time-domain
astronomy' and one in 'nano-physics'have already established concrete
plans for moving forward quickly.
The time-domain astronomy collaboration will center on a new small telescope
to be built at the Sutherland Station of the South African Astronomical
Observatory, also the site of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT).
The new telescope will monitor nearly 1 million stars, spread over 25
percent of the southern hemisphere sky, with a time cadence of about 15
minutes. A primary motivation is to search for the faint 'shadows' cast
by Earth-like planets as they orbit their suns. In addition to searching
for these so-called exoplanets, the new venture will study a host of transient
phenomena, such as binary stars and supernova explosions, that may then
be studied in more careful detail with SALT. Finally, it is hoped that
the stream of approximately 10 Gb of data obtained every night will help
to form the backbone of an archival repository of high quality dataa
South African Virtual Observatorythat researchers and students across
Southern Africa will be able to use for ongoing research and training.
The nano-physics collaboration identified three pilot feasibility projects,
involving researchers in physics, materials science, chemistry, and engineering.
These can be pursued immediately, involving transfer of materials and
short-term faculty/student visits for knowledge transfer. It is hoped
that these feasibility studies may help leverage significant (~ R600000)
funding from SA NRF and industry, as well as the National Science Foundation
in the USA.