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Academy for Science and Arts honours SU academics
Author: Korporatiewe Kommunikasie / Corporate Communication
Published: 18/07/2017

The South African Academy for Science and Arts (Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns) recently rewarded Stellenbosch University (SU) academics for their contribution to science and the arts at an awards event in Stellenbosch.

The SU recipients are Prof Hendrik Geyer of the Department of Physics; Prof Lambert Engelbrecht, Chair of the Department of Social Work; Prof Gerhard Geldenhuys, emeritus professor in Applied Mathematics; as well as Ms Anneke van Heerden, SU alumna who received a prize for her Master's Degree.

The Havenga Prize for Physical Sciences was awarded to Prof Geyer. He joined SU in 1984 and became professor in Physics in 1990. Prof Geyer has been the Director of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) since 2008.

He was honoured for his enormous contribution to aspects of quantum mechanics. He is considered a pioneer in the broad field of non-hermetic quantum physics, especially in relation to PT symmetric quantum mechanics. Prof Geyer's leading role in this field is supported by a long series of related publications with both local and overseas colleagues, and he is internationally recognised as one of the founders of this discipline.

The Stals Prize for Social Work was awarded to Prof Engelbrecht. He has made a significant contribution to the social work profession, especially his work on the effects of neo-liberalism on social work service delivery, which is highly regarded locally and internationally.

Prof Engelbrecht focuses on research in social development, supervision and management of social workers, as well as the training of social work students. This research area has delivered more than 90 scientific outputs.

Prof Geldenhuys is the recipient of the Huguenot Society and the DF du Toit-Malherbe Prize for Genealogical research. He receives the prize for the noteworthy role that his genealogical research has played in the field of medical science in the unravelling of the molecular causes of hereditary heart muscle and movement illnesses.

Knowledge of disease carriers' degree of relations played a big role to find the hereditary gene and, where the gene had been known, explain the fluctuating degree of the severity of the disease.

The Protea Prize for best History dissertation in Afrikaans and the General Christiaan de Wet bursary was awarded to Ms Van Heerden. The prize was awarded for her MA thesis, which she completed at SU, with the title, “Die Suiderkruisfonds en die mobilisering van die Suid-Afrikaanse blanke burgerlike samelewing tydens die Grensoorlog 1968-1989".

In 2014, Ms Van Heerden passed her MA degree cum laude, and between 2011 and 2015, she received a Merit Bursary, NRF Research Bursary, as well as the Marlene Silbert Award for Holocaust and Human Rights Education. Also, she has been promoted to Head of Social Sciences and History at President High School in Goodwood, Cape Town, which he joined in 2015.

CAPTION: Profs Wessel Pienaar (Chairman of the South African Academy of Science and Arts), Hendrik Geyer of SU, and Jannie Hofmeyr. Photo: ANTON JORDAAN