Invitation: Spring School on Solar Energy and Photosynthesis

Spring School on Solar Energy and Photosynthesis

Dates: 1-5, October 2018

Venue: University of Pretoria, SA

Registration deadline: 31-July-2018

The Departments of Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Genetics & Microbiology are hosting a multidisciplinary spring school on solar energy and photosynthesis at the University of Pretoria during the October recess (1 – 5 October 2018).

Download the flyer here.

To Register, Click here.

Registration is free and includes lunch and morning and afternoon snacks.

Seats are limited due to popularity of the course

Target Audience: BSc Honours / MSc students. PhDs and postdocs are also welcome. Students with background in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and/or Engineering are encouraged to participate.

  • The course is highly interactive and interdisciplinary in nature
  • Participation in assessment activities is compulsory
  • Participation certificates will be given
  • Participants are encouraged to bring a poster about  their own research

The top BSc Honours / MSc student will be awarded a fully funded internship at CEA Saclay (France).

More about the course…

The present global energy demand of approximately 17 TW is predicted to increase twofold by 2050 as the result of population and economic growth. Africa’s energy demand will probably be the highest of all continents. The challenge in fulfilling in a sustainable way our high demand for energy is not one of an inherent lack of available energy. In fact, the amount of solar energy reaching the earth’s surface in one hour is more than what is consumed by mankind in an entire year. However, there are still major challenges faced by current solar energy technologies that have to be overcome to make the technologies economically viable, especially for developing countries. The two main challenges are

  1. to develop inexpensive materials that offer a high efficiency of solar energy conversion; and
  2. to store the energy in a compact, inexpensive and durable form.

Fundamental research needed to address these two challenges is limited in South Africa and in Africa at large. The proposed course will address this knowledge gap and will focus primarily on the first challenge, i.e. the fundamental aspects of solar energy conversion in various types of materials. Particular focus will be given to “natural” solar energy conversion, i.e. the primary steps of photosynthesis, during which solar energy is converted into chemical energy on a massive scale, to highlight the importance of bio-inspired solar energy technologies. This calls for a strong multidisciplinary approach, including physics, chemistry, materials science, biology and engineering.

Topics included:

  1. Photosynthesis (Natural Solar Energy Conversion)
  2. Chemistry of Sustainable Materials
  3. Photovoltaics & Engineered Materials
  4. Laser Spectroscopy


Funding for travel and accommodation is available for participants traveling by flight. Applicants from African countries will be favoured. Self-catering accommodation at the University of Pretoria is available free of charge during the course period. Other accommodation will be at the applicant's own costs. Travel bursaries will be provided for the needful, i.e. as a refund of part of or the full flight ticket (refunds will be done after the school).

For further details / queries please write to: [email protected]

- Author Shankara Radhakrishnan
Published by Anita Botha

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