Scott Cameron, a postgraduate student in Physics, is the recipient of both the Meiring Naudé medal for the best BScHons student in Physics as well as the Dean's Medal for the best BSc-student in the Faculty of Science at Stellenbosch University.
Scott, who matriculated from the Heartwell Private School in Johannesburg, says he has always been excited about the idea of gravitational ways, quarks and strings, but only applied to study Physics as his second choice. However, when he was accepted for Physics, he knew it was the right choice for him.
“I have worked really hard over the last few years, but not because I wanted that piece of paper which says I have a degree. My motivation has always been to know and understand things, and to learn useful skills along the way."
His advice to fellow students is to learn “anything and everything" from your own and other fields: “It will help you to get a new perspective on the problem you are trying to solve. Being able to apply skills from other fields in your specific area of expertise will always give you an edge above the rest. Don't just live in one box."
He is currently pursuing an MSc in Physical and Mathematical Analysis, focusing on numerical approximations for Bayesian model comparison specifically aimed at neural network applications to large datasets.
He explains that “with this approach, one can compare quantitatively how well different models describe a particular dataset using intelligent search methods to optimize hyperparameters."
Scott says he is honoured and grateful for the awards, and the recognition of his hard work: “It will certainly help me to stay motivated and continue working harder for my MSc and possibly PhD."
The John Todd Morrison Medal for Best MSc student in Physics in 2017 went to Philipp Uhrich for his thesis “Noninvasive measurement of dynamic correlations in spin systems", which he completed under the guidance of Prof. Hermann Uys, holder of the CSIR/SU research chair in Quantum, Optical and Atomic Physics, and Prof. Michael Kastner from the National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NiTHEP).