Davids aiming for the stars

Secures research grant from African Astronomical Society

30 June 2021 | People

University of Namibia (UNAM) physics lecturer Hambeleleni Davids has been awarded a research grant by the African Astronomical Society (AFAS), which supports research projects in astronomy conducted by postgraduate students and early career researchers based in Africa. She will graduate with a PhD in Space Physics from North-West University, Potchefstroom in August this year.
The AFAS only awarded two grants to outstanding applicants in 2021.
Speaking to Nampa, Davids said her love for science started in high school, where her favourite subjects were physical science and mathematics. “I registered for a BSc in Physics at the University of Namibia in 2010. My first exposure to astrophysics was when I visited the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) site in 2012,” she said. This prompted her to write her undergraduate thesis on H.E.S.S. data analysis.
She added that the recognition she received through this award motivates and energises her to do more and achieve more as she begins to set herself up as a researcher. “I think as a country we are paving the way for young ones to pursue their dreams in whatever field they desire, reaffirming the great work that is already being done to continue,” she said.
Davids also spoke about the different programmes and courses currently being offered at local institutions of higher learning for aspiring scientists. “I wouldn't say there is enough awareness, but it is there. It is rather a matter of how we can improve to aspire young ones in taking up careers in space physics. We as local scientists could start mentoring programmes or showcase our work more to attract interested people.”
Davids said in five years she hopes to be part of an institution where she can use her skills while following her astrophysics passion. “I am hoping to get involved in major astrophysical projects like the Cherenkov Telescope Array where UNAM is involved and the Square Kilometre Array project which is coming to Namibia,” she concluded. – Nampa

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