Former Komani nuclear physicist’s research published in top scientific journal

Nuclear physicist Cebo Ngwetsheni at work in his University of the Western Cape office.
AT THE CORE: Nuclear physicist Cebo Ngwetsheni at work in his University of the Western Cape office.
Image: UWC

A South African nuclear physicist has made it into one of the world’s leading scientific journals with his research on nuclear polarisation.

Cebo Ngwetsheni‚ who grew up in Komani and is studying towards his doctorate at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), is the author of a paper published in Physics Letters.

It is the first time a paper prepared solely at UWC has been published in the journal‚ which published the Nobel-deciding discovery of the Higgs boson – also known as the “God particle”.

Ngwetsheni’s paper is titled Continuing Influence of Shell Effects at High-Excitation Energies.

The abstract begins: “Empirical drops in ground-state nuclear polarisabilities indicate deviations from the effect of giant dipole resonances and may reveal the presence of shell effects in semi-magic nuclei with neutron magic numbers N=50‚ 82 and 126.”

Ngwetsheni said: “In third year‚ I started developing a real passion for nuclear physics: getting to research deeper into the core of matter was quite interesting‚ and I found I understood it better than other subjects – and wanted to understand it even more.”

He said his success was not only about his own career.

“I want to have an impact when it comes to development of technology and knowledge and to set an example for people from the communities – to help them see there’s so much they can do and be.

“My dream is to contribute to the ultimate quest for understanding the natural world – and to inspire others to see that they can do it too,” he said.

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