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Exciting Career in the Stars for Physics Whizz

2017/05/04 04:31:22 PM

While at high school at Al-Falaah College in Durban, Ms Zahra Kader’s favourite subject was Physics with her teacher describing her ability as ‘extraordinary’.

 Summa cum laude BSc graduate Ms Zahra Kader has her sights set firmly on an academic career in Astrophysics.

While at high school at Al-Falaah College in Durban, Ms Zahra Kader’s favourite subject was Physics with her teacher describing her ability as ‘extraordinary’. 

Kader excelled at Physics and went on to register for a Bachelor of Science majoring in Physics and Applied Mathematics at UKZN in 2014.

Now she has graduated with a BSc degree summa cum laude.

Kader’s passion for Mathematics and Physics put her in contact with UKZN’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU) in her first year of study. Her exceptional results enabled her to secure a Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Bursary. 

Kader described her successful studies as being, ‘tough, involving many sleepless nights and countless cups of coffee’, yet despite this, ‘thoroughly enjoyable’. Some of her favourite undergraduate modules were classical mechanics, special relativity and quantum mechanics.

In addition to graduating summa cum laude, Kader received the National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NITheP) prize at the recent College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science Awards function for being the top Physics student.

Kader’s proud father said his daughter had produced excellent results since her school days. ‘At home, we always had high expectations for her. Today the world recognises her for her academic achievement and I share wholeheartedly in celebrating this day.’ He says he knows his daughter will continue her journey to greater heights and ultimately use her knowledge to benefit others and the world we live in.

Said her high school teacher, Mr H.S. Hamid: ‘Students like Zahra are rare souls who leave an everlasting impression on us all. I am humbled because Zahra has surpassed the achievements of many of us and proud that she rates among the very best.’

Kader is registered for a BSc Honours degree at UKZN exploring the use of pulsars as highly accurate celestial clocks for the detection of Nano hertz frequency gravitational waves.

Kader has her sights set on doing a Master’s degree in the same field under the supervision of Professor Kavilan Moodley. ‘The MeerKAT telescope, which is currently being used to time pulsars as part of the Meertime project, provides an excellent opportunity,’ she said. ‘I would like to go on to complete a PhD degree and thereafter continue with postdoctoral research at UKZN. I would also like to lecture one day. I am excited about the SKA project and hope to be granted the opportunity to work at the South African MeerKAT radio telescope.

‘I am on a path to becoming an Astrophysicist. It is exciting to be able to partake in these unprecedented events and to make a significant contribution to science no matter how small.’

Leena Rajpal


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