Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Shaking hands with the Minister Research Science and innovation of New Zealand, Dr. Megan Woods at Multicore World 2018

This week Multicore World 2018 takes place in Wellington, New Zealand. This conference is devoted to High Performance Computing and Big Data with emphasis on New Zealand's participation in the SKA:


Shook hands with the Honorable Minister Minister Research Science and innovation of New Zealand, Dr. Megan Woods. She is from a new labour government. She pledged to increase the contribution to R&D to the level of 2% in the midterm. She also took some tough questions.

During the second day Hon Clare Curran, Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media addressed the conference with a comprehensive presentation on the state of ICT in New Zealand. The minister has ambitious plans to turn ICT into a leading contributor to the GDP in the country. The Minister gave an overview of policies with regards to data access and dissemination in New Zealand. Social aspects related to education and access to data and connectivity are important inputs to policy making.

Very impressed with how down to earth and easy to interact with the Ministers with. The discussion with the audience was candid and open.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Fourth High Energy Particle Physics in South Africa is taking place at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies.

The Fourth High Energy Particle Physics in South Africa is taking place at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies.

The HEPP workshop is now taking place at STIAS, at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape. This is the fourth edict in of the HEPP workshop. We have seen a steady increase in the participation of students and senior researchers. Compared to the first edition in 2015 the attendance has increased by about a factor of two. The format of the workshop is such that mornings have lecture style presentations. The afternoons display selected presentations from students or groups of students.


Representing iThemba LABS, the host of the SA-CERN consortium, Dr. Mathis Wiedeking, addressed the audience. Dr. Wiedeking touched upon the history of the program and commended the large student participation.

Prof. Jean Cleymans, the Chairman of the SA-CERN consortium was invited to give an introductory lecture on the physics of the Heavy Ion collisions, including an overview highlights of results from the ALICE experiment at CERN.

Below is a group picture taken this morning during the first coffee break:

Below is Dr. Daniel Dercks, from the University of Hamburg, has invited to visit SA to give lectures on the state of the art books in High Energy Physics in the area of phenomenology.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Opening session of the ATLAS Tile Calorimeter Upgrade week at iThemba LABS, Cape Town, March 15th 2017

Today we had the opening session of the ATLAS Tile Calorimeter Upgrade week at iThemba LABS, Cape Town. The workshop focuses on questions of instrumentation related to the upgrade of the Tile Calorimeter of the ATLAS detector  at the Large Hadron Collider. Below are photos from the morning session:

The Director of iThemba LABS addresses the audience

Daniel, Dock, the Managing Director of Trax Interconnect (Pty) Ltd gives a presentation with the title  "Capabilities of the South African Electronics Industry"

Dr. Oleg Solovyanov, Project Leader of the Tile Calorimeter gives a colloquium with the title "The Upgrade of the Tile Calorimeter of the ATLAS Detector at the Large Hadron Collider"

The group photo after the open session

Friday, 10 March 2017

Dr. Daniel Adams from the South African Department of Science of Technology visits the High Throughput electronics labs at Wits

Below is a recent picture of members of the Wits HEP group with Dr. Daniel Adams, Chief director at the Department of Science and Technology. Dr. Adams came to the School of Physics to visit the High Throughput electronics lab on March 9th 2017.

Missing in the picture are Marc Sacks, Matthew Spoor, Prof. Alan Cornell, Harshna Jivan. Dingane Hlaluku, Humpry Tlou, Skhathi Mthembu, Kehinde Tomiwa and Yesenia Hernandez are currently in Europe. 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

CEO Sleepout with the Ambassador of Switzerland.

On July 28th 2016, I joined the Ambassador of Switzerland and almost 200 CEO’s at Nelson Mandela Bridge for the #4Leaders4Change CEO Sleepout challenge to spend the night there to fundraise money while gaining empathy for the homeless. The ambassador’s 3 leaders included myself (Joyful Mdhluli), Zoë Petersen and Balz Abplanalp as seen in the picture below.
Embassy of Switzerland's #4Leaders4Change
Embassy of Switzerland's #4Leaders4Change
The #4Leaders4Change CEO Sleepout challenge managed to raise around 19 million by the night of sleepout with the Embassy of Switzerland fundraising over R217 000 to date. We were given a sleeping bag and cardboard boxes to sleep on after having donated a blanket, an informal outfit including shoes and a book. Coffee and soup was available and could be purchased with virtual money we had to work for by either making sandwiches at the kitchen stalls, taking selfies at the photo booth or knitting blankets.

Clothes that were donated upon arrival.
Zoë and I making sandwiches to buy coffee/hot chocolate and soup.
The Ambassador and I after donating our clothes.

I met a lot of CEO’s including the CEO of MTN, KMPG, Liberty Group SA and companies I didn’t even know existed. Among the CEO’s I also met the Premier of Gauteng , the Mayor of Joburg, the Minister of Finance, the ambassador of Canada and the Sleepout organizers.

Ambassador with the CEO of MTN.
Most of the people attempted to sleep in the cold tar road after 12 am and only a few (including myself) stayed up sitting around the fire.

People made tents out of boxes.
Team Switzerland sleeping around 2 am.
After spending 12 hours out in the cold, the Minister of Finance addressed the crowd and Mr Tokyo Sexwale announced that he would be hosting the CEO Sleepout next year on Neslon Mandela Day in Robben Island. 
On our way home at 6 am after spending 12 hours on the bridge.
The experience has taught me to look at homeless people differently. When I see a homeless person now, I don’t see a dirty person who is annoying me for money but someone who spends every night out in the cold with no food or warm clothes. I barely survived the night while wearing 3 jerseys, 3 pairs of pants and a fire to keep me warm. I definitely have empathy for the homeless after spending the night out in the cold.

All the sandwiches made during the night were all given to over a 1000 homeless people together with all the sleeping bags used, clothes and blankets donated.

The homeless collecting their food, sleeping bags and blankets.
It was an honor and a privilege to share this experience with the Ambassador and her team members but I really hope I don't have to do that again any time soon.

More information about the Sleepout

Friday, 17 June 2016

Finally, today we managed to connect all the necessary fibre cables from the Demonstrator module to the Trigger and Data Aquisition System (TDAQ) and took some partial data. In the picture below you will see me (Dingane Hlaluku, Wits University) covering up the barrel modules on top of the table at the Prevessin test beam area.

The Table with which the modules are hooked up can be 360 degrees both clockwise and anticlockwise and also laterally to suit the expert's requirements for data taking. This movement can be achieved in 2 ways viz. manually (see picture below) or remotely using python scripts. We have properly setup the positions which will be required for this test beam into the remote control machine as well today so that there will not be a need for shifters to be in the beam area during data taking.

The picture below shows the position of the beam chamber (Beam focused through that purple rectangular quadrilateral). The beam is kept focused whilst the table with the module is moved around. In the picture below is Andrew Matilton (University of Chicago).

Friday, 10 June 2016

After several  intense weeks of preparation, the demonstrator inside  the Module JINR65 finally makes it to the TB site.  We had   certainly few glitches  but you can see from the picture attached that  we were ready for everything and neither  a  flat tire    could have stopped us today. Moreover, it seems to works pretty well.  A couple of pictures depicting some of the action from today...

Standing next to the truck with the extended barrel module is Dingane Hlaluku in Building 175 where the module was assembled and tested and it is now being taken to the test beam site at Prevessin.

Dingane Hlaluku  (Wits) and Andrew Milton (University of Chicago) closing up the module after inserting the super drawers in Building 175.

Dingane Hlaluku connecting the Single Board Computer (SBC) and the Trigger and Timing Control unit (TTC) for the module's back end electronics. The SBC is responsible for communication between the back end electronics devices which are the TTC, Central Trigger Processing etc. The SBC is also responsible for reading out information.  

Dingane, Irakli and Jallal in building 175 inserting the Super Drawers into the Extended barrel module.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Visiting Professor John Ellis at CERN

Some group members, currently stationed at CERN were able to meet with Professor John Ellis. Prof. Ellis is arguably the most cited theorist in our field and an icon in collider physics for many. Enjoy!

In the pictures you will see Shell-may Liao, Tshidiso Molupe, Dingane Hlaluku, Tomiwa Kehinde, Stefan von Buddenbrock, Xifeng Ruan and Bruce Mellado

Below is the team in Prof. Ellis' famous office

At the Microcosm exhibition at CERN with a picture of the ATLAS detector in the background,

A picture taken with the chamber where the Z and W bosons were discovered,


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Second High Energy Particle Physics workshop to take place at iThemba LABS - North (Gauteng) February 8th-10th

Everything is ready for second High Energy Particle Physics workshop to take place at iThemba LABS - North (Gauteng) February 8th-10th.

The workshop will be opened by the Wits DVC research, Prof. Zeblon Vilakazi, Dr. Daniel Adams from the DST, Prof. Azwinndini Muronga, President of the SAIP,  Prof. Jean Cleymans, Chair of the SA-CERN consortium, and the Head of the School of Physics, Prof. Joao Rodrigues. Following the opening we will have lectures on Quantum Field Theory by Dr. Will Horowitz, on data analysis with ROOT by Dr. Deepak Kar and statistics by Prof. Eilam Gross. Prof. Eilam Gross was a convenor of the Higgs group of the ATLAS experiment when the Higgs boson was discovered in 2012.

The remaining two days will be devoted to presentations by students and young researchers.

For more details you can go to the workshop’s website


The agenda is available at


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The proceedings of the first High Energy Particle Physics Workshop in South Africa have just been published

The proceedings of the High Energy Particle Physics Workshop that took place at iThemba LABS - North, Johannesburg, February 11th-13th 2015 have just been published in IoP Conference Series on-line. The hard copies will be available soon to speakers, libraries, etc...

The HEPPW2015 is the first workshop in the country where South African students and young researchers get together to report on their research activities to the community. This includes theory, phenomenology, data analysis and instrumentation in collider physics. An emphasis is made in collider physics with CERN-related activities.

This workshop bears witness that the field of High Energy Particle Physics in the area of collider physics is getting established in South Africa.

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