Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals

2013 Recipients

Dr. MurongaAzwinndini Muronga, South Africa
Ph.D., Physics (2002)

Dr. Azwinndini Muronga is a distinguished alumnus of the School of Physics and Astronomy, earning his doctorate in Physics in 2002. He is acknowledged as the voice of science in rural and disadvantaged areas of South Africa.

Dr. Muronga has made outstanding contributions to theoretical physics. His thesis work on casual second order viscous relativistic fluid dynamics was seminal; it has been cited more than 600 times and is now incorporated in large state-of-the-art computer codes written around the world to model collisions between nuclei and high energy. His work has been integrated in experiments done in various locations from Long Island to Geneva at facilities at the billion dollar to ten billion dollar levels. Dr. Muronga is considered one of the leading scientists in the relativistic treatment of viscosity.

After obtaining his Ph.D., he was offered a post-doctoral position at the University of Frankfurt, Germany. He was subsequently offered a post-doctoral position in Darmstadt, Germany, then a position as senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town. He is currently working as an Associate Professor at the University of Johannesburg and is also Director of the Soweto Science Centre. He has been involved in setting up the physics undergraduate research program and in the reshaping of the graduate physics program. He runs the internship program for theoretical physics students from across the country and, in particular, students from previously disadvantaged universities. As the director of the Soweto Science Centre, he has helped build the foundation and establishment of scientific programs that are benefiting students from previously disadvantaged communities. Dr. Muronga also coordinates scientific outreach activities, such as the national science week, and engages personally with students from various communities.

Dr. Muronga is a champion for science development in South Africa and plays an active role in addressing these pressing issues. As a board member and associate of the National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NITheP), Dr. Muronga has contributed greatly to NITheP’s capacity development programs. In his various roles, Dr. Muronga’s opinion is highly valued within the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation.

In naming Dr. Muronga a recipient of the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals, the selection committee cited his admirable involvement in developing opportunities for young African scientists and efforts in promoting the study of science to the South African public.