UCT VC visits world’s largest experiment

14 Jan 2019 - 16:45

University of Cape Town (UCT) Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng is currently on a trip to Switzerland where she is visiting the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), home to the world’s largest and most complicated scientific instruments.

UCT has a long-standing relationship with CERN via the UCT-CERN Research Centre, and Phakeng said during her visit that it was “a great honour and pleasure to be here, and to be involved in CERN”.

 “The greatest achievement is the contribution to human capital development. We are concerned for the future, and when we see our young scholars at CERN it gives us hope.”

One of the instruments at CERN, the Large Hadron Collider – which accelerates particles to almost the speed of light and crashes them into one another so that scientists can study the results – is not currently operational. It was shut down last month for two years of maintenance and upgrades to the circuit.

UCT scientists are among the South African scientists contributing to the new hardware, its installation and testing.

While at the facility, Phakeng – accompanied by UCT researchers and alumni, some of whom flew in from the United Kingdom – will visit the ATLAS and ALICE experiments. UCT researchers are involved in both experiments, which aim to improve understanding of the nature of the universe.