Post-Doctoral Fellow at UKZN and a member of the University’s renowned Thermodynamics Research Unit (TRU), Dr Mark Williams-Wynn, has been selected to attend one of the world’s most prestigious scientific gatherings – the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany, from 25-30 June.
Williams-Wynn, a Chemical Process Engineer, is one of five young South Africans nominated by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) for this honour. He was selected after a multi-stage international selection process.
‘I am really excited to have been given the opportunity by ASSAf to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting as it will be a chance to forge links with top up-and-coming researchers from around the world which could include possibilities of future research collaborations,’ said Williams-Wynne. ‘Being a Chemical Engineer, I am particularly interested in how the research that is being conducted around the world can be applied for the South African and African context, particularly in job, skills and resource development.’
Williams-Wynn said the gathering would also provide an opportunity to learn from past Nobel Prize winners and to get a glimpse of their views of the current state and direction of chemistry research.
Around 400 young scientists from 76 countries will attend this year’s meeting which is dedicated to the field of Chemistry. The participants have been selected to interact and exchange knowledge and ideas with 31 former Nobel Laureates also in attendance.
The annual meeting encourages dialogue and knowledge exchange between academics in the three natural science Nobel Prize disciplines of Physiology and Medicine, Physics, and Chemistry, alternating its field of focus each year. The vibrant group that meets is a mix of generations, cultures and disciplines. The programme features lectures, panel discussions and master classes.
ASSAf, as the official partner of the Lindau Foundation and with funding from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), annually nominates scientists under the age of 35 to attend this dynamic forum for exchange, networking and inspiration.
The other South African scientists attending are Dr Hlamulo Makelane of the University of the Western Cape; Mr Frederick Malan of the University of Pretoria; Ms Funeka Nkosi of the University of the Witwatersrand; and Ms Retha Peach of North-West University.
Williams-Wynn can expect a six-day programme with numerous lectures and panel discussions, and potentially the opportunity to discuss his own work at one of the master classes or at the poster session.
‘I am currently researching possibilities in various waste stream recycling processes as an integral part of my Post-Doctoral Fellowship,’ said Williams-Wynn. ‘As a member of the Thermodynamics Research Unit, this research includes obtaining a better understanding of the chemical thermodynamics behind these recycling processes.’
One of the major fields he is currently investigating is the recycling of electronic waste (e-waste), which includes the operation of a pilot plant for the recovery of rare earth metals from waste luminophorous powders that the TRU has designed and constructed.
Williams-Wynn was supervised for his PhD by Professor Prathieka Naidoo and Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, who is Director of the Thermodynamics Research Unit and SARChI Chair for Fluorine Process Engineering and Separation Technology.
Ramjugernath, who is also the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research at UKZN, said: ‘The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting brings together the leading young researchers globally. It is a significant honour and accomplishment for a young researcher to be chosen to represent their country at this meeting. The University of KwaZulu-Natal is very proud of the achievements of Dr Mark Williams-Wynn in being selected as one of five representatives from South Africa. He is a young researcher who is inspiring greatness through his research achievements.’
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