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Illuminating Africa with synchrotron light
Start: 07/08/2019, 18:00
End: 07/08/2019, 19:00
Contact:Wiida Fourie-Basson - 021 808 2684
Location: GUS Art Gallery, c/o Dorp and Bird Streets, Stellenbosch

What is a synchrotron light source and why is Africa the only continent, apart from Antarctica, without one? For the next Science Café Stellenbosch, Dr Bjorn von der Heyden will talk about the African Light Source initiative and the importance of this facility for African science and global technological competitiveness.

What is a synchrotron light source?

A synchrotron facility has sources which produce highly brilliant light that span X-ray, Ultra-violet and Infrared wavelengths. Much like an airport X-ray machine is used to probe the content of your holiday luggage, so synchrotron light is used to probe information at an atomic to particle scale, providing important observational and mechanistic insights for a range of scientific disciplines, including (but not limited to) biomedical research, energy, food and water supply, earth sciences, geophysics and forensic science. A dedicated group of scientists is working towards bringing synchrotron light to the African continent.

More about the speaker

After graduating with his B.ScHons-degree in Earth Sciences from Stellenbosch University, Dr Bjorn von der Heyden was afforded the opportunity to undertake the beginning of his MSc research as an exchange student at Princeton University (USA). During this time, he became proficient in the use of synchrotron light, particularly towards studying the structure and chemistry of natural aquatic iron-rich nanoparticles and sub-micron particles. This study ultimately culminated in a PhD. that was awarded in 2013, where after he spent two years in the Southern African mining industry before being appointed as a lecturer in Economic Geology at SU in 2015. Since this appointment, he has maintained strong affiliation to the African Light Source initiative and has presented at both the first and second Pan-African conferences that have been organised by this umbrella body. He continues to search out interesting and novel ways in which synchrotron science can be applied to his research field, which is related to ore mineralisation. 

Science Café Stellenbosch is an initiative of SU's Faculty of Science to promote the discussion of scientific issues in a language that everyone can understand. Entrance is free and learners are always welcome!

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