22 April 2015 Volume :3 Issue :21

Staff Member Breezes through Master’s Degree in Atmospheric Physics

Staff Member Breezes through Master’s Degree in Atmospheric Physics
Master of Science graduate and Academic Development Officer, Mr Shivan Augustine at work in his Physics lab.

Completing a Masters Degree in Atmospheric Physics in the space of 11 months and then embarking on a PhD was a 'breeze' for Mr Shivan Augustine.  

Zealous passion for his field of study meant Augustine worked on his MSc whenever he could. ‘I enjoyed my work so much that it wasn’t really much of a problem to go into my lab and “experiment” with my equipment,’ he said.

Augustine was grateful for funding received from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Defence, Peace, Safety and Security division as well as the National Research Foundation. ‘I did not have to worry about much else besides just working hard,’ he said.

In addition to funding, the CSIR  supplied Augustine with world class equipment to use in his project. The physics and electronics technical staff played a vital role in the design and calibrating of equipment for the project, and he was ably supervised by Dr Naven Chetty, Academic Leader Teaching and Learning in UKZN’s School of Chemistry and Physics. 

All these factors assisted with the speedy completion of Augustine’s MSc, which investigated the effectiveness of using a point diffraction interferometer to detect and quantify the effect of thermal turbulence on laser beam propagation through the atmosphere. Such research is highly sought after in the defence and security sectors in South Africa. The project was successful and a journal article by Augustine was accepted and published in the international journal, Atmósfera.

Augustine has always aspired to be a 'scientist of sorts', hence his specialisation in the field of atmospheric physics. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Physics and working as the Academic Development Officer for UKZN’s School of Chemistry and Physics. 

Swasti Maney

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