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Top physicist joins Wits

- Wits University

Professor Nithaya Chetty has been appointed as the new Dean of the Faculty of Science from 1 December 2019.

Professor Nithaya Chetty to head the Wits Faculty of Science

The current Vice-President of the International Union for Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), Professor Chetty joins Wits from the University of Pretoria where he is a full professor of Physics. The two-time recipient of the American Fulbright Fellowship, Professor Chetty is also a past president of the South African Institute of Physics, and former Deputy Director of the National Institute of Theoretical Physics. Professor Chetty served on the Executive of the National Research Foundation (NRF) for six years as Group Executive: Astronomy, and subsequently as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the NRF overseeing the Astronomy portfolio during the build phase of the MeerKAT radio telescope.

“A leading academic and researcher, Professor Chetty brings with him a range of skills in the higher education sector and a profound understanding of the national research system, which will be invaluable to the University. On behalf of the Wits community, I would like to welcome Professor Chetty to the institution and wish him well as he leads the nine schools that make up the Faculty of Science. This will enable Wits to continue to produce the high level scarce skills required to move South Africa forward,” says Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University.

Professor Chetty’s research interests focus on the quantum mechanical studies of two dimensional graphene-related materials using large production codes at the Centre for High Performance Computing. Professor Chetty has also been actively involved in physics education, researching pedagogical approaches to the teaching of physics, which he says is vitally important for developing a new cohort of scientists for the future.

Professor Chetty is an NRF-rated researcher, and a past recipient of the NRF President’s Award. He enjoys numerous international collaborations, is widely published in accredited international journals and has supervised numerous postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows. He is actively involved in the development of physics on the African continent through his work at the International Union for Pure and Applied Physics.

“I look forward to working with students and colleagues in the Faculty of Science at Wits, but also across disciplines and faculties to ensure that Wits aspires to be the best, that it fulfils its mandate to produce the requisite skills required to impact positively on society, and that it continues to respond nationally and to compete globally on all fronts,” says Professor Chetty.

Please join us in welcoming Professor Chetty to Wits University. A full profile, including his vision for the Faculty, will be published when he joins the University later this year. Read his statement of intent and full CV here.