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Distinguished Researchers

The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) has produced a large number of distinguished scholars over the years and is currently blessed with a wonderful cohort of highly productive researchers.  Any list of distinguished researchers runs the risk of missing people and therefore presented below are just some of the many people that Wits is proud to call its own.

Nobel Laureates

Wits is justly proud of its three research focused Nobel Laureates.  They include: Aaron Klug – 1982 Chemistry, Nadine Gordimer – 1991 Literature, and Sydney Brenner – 2002 Physiology or Medicine.

Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Awards

Some claim this to be the South African equivalent of the Nobel awards.  Since its inception in 2001 14 awards, some of them multiple awards in one year, have been made (no award was made in 2003).  The following Wits academics have won awards: David Glasser for sustainable process engineering in 2001, Norman Owen-Smith for ecology in 2005, Duncan Mitchell for physiology in 2010 and Helen Rees for HIV/Aids and public health in 2015.

Highly Productive and Highly Cited Researchers

The correct balance between quantity and quality of research output can often be difficult to strike.  The following table consists of the names of current, onsite Wits academics that have produced 40 or more publications in journals indexed by the Web of Science (so called ISI journals) in the last five years (2011 to 2015).  Thus they have averaged eight publications per annum and can be regarded as highly productive.  Perhaps more importantly at least half of their publications have been cited in the literature by other researchers in the last five years.  In fact the table is ranked by the percentage of documents cited with the top six having more than 80% of their papers cited – a sign of quality and impact.

 

Natural and Health Sciences

First name

Surname

Faculty

Web of Science Documents

Times Cited

Sergio

Colafrancesco

Natural Science

52

368

Ian

Sanne

Health Sciences

61

2 918

Shabir

Madhi

Health Sciences

102

1 028

Paul

Manger

Health Sciences

41

236

Neil

Coville

Natural Science

58

320

Bao-Zhu

Guo

Natural Science

43

251

Bruce

Mellado

Natural Science

169

1 327

Mhairi

Maskew

Health Sciences

48

411

John

Pettifor

Health Sciences

40

154

Justus

Hofmeyr

Health Sciences

41

195

Shane

Norris

Health Sciences

71

375

Kathy

Kahn

Health Sciences

66

346

Angela

Woodiwiss

Health Sciences

55

246

Viness

Pillay

Health Sciences

90

342

Pradeep

Kumar

Health Sciences

87

289

Gavin

Norton

Health Sciences

51

185

Lisa

du Toit

Health Sciences

76

296

Yahya

Choonara

Health Sciences

84

322

Abdul

Kara

Natural Science

45

149

Ed

Witkowski

Natural Science

40

117

It must be noted that certain disciplines are more predisposed to citing than others.  All the people noted above work in the broad fields of the natural (life, physical and numerical) sciences or health (anatomical, clinical, pathological, pharmaceutical and physiological) sciences.  But of course Wits has many distinguished researchers in the fields of the Social sciences, humanities and engineering.

Listed below are people who have published ten or more publications in the broad field of Social Sciences and Humanities in Web of Science (ISI) indexed journals in the last five years (2011 to 2015).  They are ranked by the percentage of their publications that are cited.  The first five have at least 50% of the publications cited.

Social Sciences and Humanities

First name

Surname

Area

Web of Science Documents

Times Cited

Travis

Pickering

Evolutionary Studies

11

74

Lyn

Wadley

Evolutionary Studies

22

177

Christopher

Henshilwood

Evolutionary Studies

13

207

Mzikazi

Nduma

Psychology

11

25

Sarah

Wurz

Evolutionary Studies

10

38

Darryl

de Ruiters

Evolutionary Studies

17

129

Loren

Landau

Migration

14

16

Sumaya

Laher

Psychology

12

10

Lee

Berger

Evolutional Studies

27

195

Tommaso

Milani

Linguistics

10

16

Roger

Southall

Sociology

30

3

Devan

Pillay

Sociology

24

0

Prishani

Naidoo

Sociology

23

0

Lawrence

Hamilton

Politics

11

0

Listed below are people who have published nine or more publications in the broad field of engineering in Web of Science (ISI) indexed journals in the last five years (2011 to 2015).  They are ranked by the percentage of their publications that are cited.  The first six have at least 50% of the publications cited.

Engineering

First name

Surname

Area

Web of Science Documents

Times Cited

Tong

Kim

Mechanical Eng.

13

41

Jack

Sigalas

Material science

30

87

Michael

Moys

Chemical Eng.

10

21

Natasha

Sacks

Chemical Eng.

9

29

Geoffrey

Simate

Chemical Eng.

11

67

Nosipho

Moloto

Chemistry

9

14

Lesley

Cornish

Metallurgy

29

46

Beric

Skews

Mechanical Eng.

12

12

Fambirai

Takawira

Electrical Eng.

9

5

Ratnam

Paskaramoorthy

Mechanical Eng.

10

37

Rex

Van Olst

Electrical Eng.

9

6

Richard

Minnitt

Mining Eng.

9

1

Shehzaad

Kauchali

Chemical Eng.

10

1

NRF Rated Researchers (data extracted in December 2015)

In South Africa the National Research Foundation (NRF) arranges a voluntary evaluation of individual researchers’ impact on their respective disciplinary fields.  This is a peer review based system and classifies researchers from all disciplines in to one of five major categories.  The categories are listed below.

 

Number of NRF Ratings
Category Definition  
A Researchers who are unequivocally recognised by their peers as leading international scholars in their field for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs.  
B Researchers who enjoy considerable international recognition by their peers for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs  
C

Established researchers with a sustained recent record of productivity in the field who are recognised by their peers as having:

  • Produced a body of quality work, the core of which has coherence and attests to ongoing engagement with the field,
  • Demonstrated the ability to conceptualise problems and apply research methods to investigating them.
 
P Young researchers (normally younger than 35 years of age), who have held the doctorate or equivalent qualification for less than five years at the time of application and who, on the basis of exceptional potential demonstrated in their published doctoral work and/or their research outputs in their early post-doctoral careers are considered likely to become future international leaders in their field.  
Y Young researchers (40 years or younger), who have held the doctorate or equivalent qualification for less than five years at the time of application, and who are recognised as having the potential to establish themselves as researchers within a five year period after evaluation, based on their performance and productivity of quality research outputs during their doctoral studies and/or early post-doctoral careers.  


In the A category – known as leading international scholars – Wits has 24 people (see below).

Name

Surname

Research Specialization

Joint appointment

Jill

Adler

Mathematics education

No

Lew

Ashwal

Geochemistry, Petrology, Mineralogy, Tectonics

No

Darryl

Comins

Spectroscopy, Material science

No

Arthur

Every

Solid state physics

No

Charles

Feldman

Pneumonia

No

Glenda

Gray

HIV/Aids Vaccines

Yes

Chris

Henshilwood

Archaeology

Yes

Isabel

Hofmeyr

Postcolonial literary studies

No

Rachel

Jewkes

Psychosocial epidemiology, Gender-based issues

Yes

David

Lewis-Williams

Social anthropology

No

Florian

Luka

Mathematics and computational science

No

Shabir

Madhi

Vaccine-preventable disease

Yes

Fazal

Mahomed

Computational fluid mechanics, Lie symmetry

No

Achille

Mbembe

Social science

Yes

Duncan

Mitchell

Conservation and thermal physiology

No

Lynn

Morris

Immunology, Biochemistry, Genetics & Molecular Biology

Yes

Norman

Owen-Smith

Ecology of the savanna & herbivores

No

John

Pettifor

Paediatric nutrition

Yes

Linda

Richter

Child development & health

No

Bruce

Rubidge

Paleontology mainly of the Karoo basin

No

Bob

Scholes

Systems ecology, Global change

No

Beric

Skews

Gas dynamics, Shock waves, Flow visualization

No

Roger

Smith

Paleoscience

No

Lyn

Wadley

Middle Stone age archaeology, Cognitive archaeology

No

Wits’ success in other rating categories is summarized below showing the number of each category in the five faculties that make up the University.

 

 

Category

Institutes

Commerce, Law & Management

Engineering & Built Environment

Health Sciences

Humanities

Science

Total

A

6

0

1

7

3

7

24

B

4

7

6

18

20

40

95

C

2

17

22

23

33

53

150

P

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

Y

0

8

4

8

16

25

61

L

0

0

0

2

0

0

2

Total

12

32

33

58

71

125

333

 

 

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