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Wits Dean of Science a Royal Society Fellow

- Wits University

The Dean of the Faculty of Science at Wits University has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa.

Ebrahim Momoniat, a Professor of Computational Science and Applied Mathematics at Wits, joined the ranks of the prestigious 109-year old Society on 22 November 2017.

The Royal Society of South Africa is an independent, interdisciplinary organisation that aims to further all branches of science in South Africa. The Society: 

  • recognises research excellence
  • organises scientific conferences, expeditions, workshops and seminars
  • fosters science education
  • publishes an accredited international journal; and
  • promotes public awareness of all aspects of science and technology. 

Fellows and members occupy senior positions in universities, research agencies and industry.

According to the Royal Society of SA citation, Momoniat “has advanced significantly research into fluid mechanics in South Africa and internationally. He has played a distinguished leadership part in the administration of Science at the University of the Witwatersrand and more broadly within South Africa through the Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences." 

About Professor Ebrahim Momoniat

Momoniat’s entire career has been spent at the University of the Witwatersrand. He obtained the BSc degree in 1992, the BSc Honours degree in Computational and Applied Mathematics in 1994 and the degrees of MSc and PhD in 1996 and 1999. His Master’s dissertation and Doctoral thesis were on fluid mechanics in the area of thin fluid films. He joined the staff of the School of Computational and Applied Mathematics in 1996 as a Junior Lecturer. He received the Convocation Distinguished Teacher’s Award in 2003 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2004 and to an ad Hominem Chair in Computational and Applied Mathematics in 2009.

His research output includes 116 papers in ISI [International Scientific Indexing] journals. He has made significant contributions to the application of Lie group analysis of differential equations and computational methods to thin fluid film flow, to the Lane-Emden equation extending the work of Chandrasekhar, to power law and second, third and fourth-grade non-Newtonian fluids and to travelling waves in smectic liquid crystals. He was among the first researchers to apply Lie group analysis to these fields. He has modelled the processes which drive thin fluid films including higher order nonlinear effects due to surface tension.

Professor Ebrahim Momoniat is Dean of the Faculty of Science at Wits and a Fellow of the Royal Society of SA

He has successfully supervised eight MSc students and 6 PhD students and published 25 papers in ISI journals with his graduate students. He is rated B3 by the National Research Foundation and has a Google Scholar h-index of 17. As a young researcher, he received the Friedel Sellschop Research Award for the period 2008 to 2010. His distinction as an outstanding researcher was recognised by Wits University when he received the Vice Chancellor’s Research Award for Research Excellence in 2016.

Momoniat has taken on significant leadership and management roles. He was the driving force behind the establishment of the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in the Mathematical and Statistical Sciences and the lead author of the proposal. The Centre of Excellence was established in 2013 with Momoniat as Deputy Director. The Centre brings together for cooperation in research in the Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Departments of 10 universities and institutes in South Africa.

He was Head of the School of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Wits from 2011 to 2015. During his tenure as Head, the School was the top publishing School in the Faculty of Science. He oversaw the merger with the School of Computer Science to form the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. In 2016 he was Assistant Dean (Research) and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Science. In July 2017 he was appointed Executive Dean of Science. He was elected a Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa in 2013.

More Royal Society SA Fellows from Wits 

The following Wits professors are amongst those who have become Fellows of the Royal Society of SA since 2000: 

  1. Marion Bamford(2006), Paleobotanist
  2. Lee Berger(2011), Paleoanthropologist  
  3. Ronald Clarke(2002), Paleoanthropologist
  4. Maureen Coetzee(2011), Entomologist
  5. Charles de Koning(2013), Organic Chemist
  6. Arnold Knopfmacher(2010), Mathematician
  7. Fazal Mahomed(2010), Mathematician
  8. Paul Manger (2013), Neurobiologist
  9. Helder Marques(2004), Bioinorganic Chemist
  10. Joseph Michael (2001), Organic Chemist
  11. Lynn Morris(2015), Microbiologist
  12. Norman Owen-Smith(2003), Behavioural Ecologist
  13. Richard Pienaar(2002), Botanist
  14. João Rodrigues(2005), Physicist
  15. Bruce Rubidge(2003), Paleoscientist
  16. Mary Scholes(2003), Biogeochemist
  17. Lyn Wadley(2014), Archaeologist
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