Change the world


Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Francois Swanepoel, a Geosciences honours student at Mandela University, recently won the “best research poster” at the 17th biannual South African Geophysical Association conference.
The conference connects leading geoscientists and the industry to discuss emerging advancements in the field of geophysics.  Francois’s research centres around designing and building an early warning system for geological hazards using both electronic and optical sensors. 
At the conference he competed against honours, masters, and PhD level students from across the country to come out on top. 
Referring to the recent catastrophic events in Turkey and Syria, he explains how fibre optics can be used as instruments for the detection of earthquakes. This technology is still in its infancy and is much more expensive than conventional seismometers. In addition, there is a lack of complete understanding of the technology and the infrastructure required to support this technique. However, once these issues have been ironed out, a more sensitive, accurate and precise instrument would be available for predicting such events. 
“I would like to thank my supervisors, Dr Gaathier Mahed and Dr James Jena, who helped me tremendously, Prof Tim Gibbon from the Physics Department, who supplied the equipment which allowed me to conduct my research and my colleague Sisipho Dlakiya who helped me conduct experiments and research.” 
Francois, matriculated as Head Boy from Die Brandwag High School in Kariega (formerly Uitenhage) in 2017, where he was involved in many community-outreach programmes. He was actively involved in chess and was chosen to represent the Eastern Cape on numerous occasions.