Mr. Sphumelele Ndlovu

PhD Candidate, Hartebeeshoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HARTRAO)

Mr Ndlovu is currently doing his PhD (Final year) in Geomatics Engineering, under the Space Geodesy Programme at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO). His PhD project involved the development of an integrated model, utilising C++, to enable optimal signal path efficiency of the HartRAO Lunar Laser Ranger. The model calculates the expected number of returned photons by considering a number of parameters which affects laser beam pulses as they traverse the atmosphere from the Earth “fixed” LLR telescope to the Moon surface and back. While doing his PhD, Mr Ndlovu attended a number of international and national conferences and was awarded the best PhD oral presentation under Astrophysics and Space Science at the 60th South African Institute of Physics annual conference in 2015.He also qualified in a global competition among young scientists worldwide to participate in the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting dedicated to Physics.  Mr Ndlovu completed his MScin experimental physics in 2012. His MSc work focused on quantifying and analysing the effects of atmospheric turbulence on a propagating laser beam. While doing his MSc, Mr Ndlovu produced two good articles and both papers were accepted by accredited scientific journals withvery little corrections. The reviewers commented on the novel scientific methods and the drive to make low-cost measurements, of atmospheric perturbations on a propagating laserbeam, with high-accuracy.