Jefferson Lab and Jefferson Science Associates Bring First School of Physics to Sub-Saharan Africa

NEWPORT NEWS, VA. - Students and scientists from African countries will have a rare opportunity to learn about innovative physics experiments, accelerators and technology on their own continent due to support provided in part by Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and Jefferson Science Associates, LLC.

The first African School of Physics will take place Aug. 1-21 at the National Institute of Theoretical Physics in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Fifty-nine students, including 40 from 17 African countries, will take part in the program. They will learn about theoretical and experimental physics from leading international scientists. Expenses for all African students will be paid by the school, which is supported by 13 international institutions, including Jefferson Lab and JSA.

Jefferson Lab, located in Newport News, is a world-leading nuclear physics research laboratory funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Jefferson Science Associates is the partnership that manages and operates the laboratory for DOE.

"This may be the first opportunity these students have to learn about particle and nuclear physics," said Steve Muanza, a physicist at IN2P3, the Center de Physique des Particules in Marseilles, and the co-founder and director of the school.  "We hope that the material presented at the school piques their interest and they go on to pursue these topics."

Topics to be covered include current and future particle and nuclear physics experiments, theoretical physics, particle accelerators and technology, information technology and grid computing. Simon Connell, a member of the local organizing committee, believes that the intensive three-week program could equate to a semester-long university course.
"We will cover a lot of subject matter not taught at any university in Africa," Connell said. "Students can take the knowledge they learn here back to their home institutions, where they can continue researching and teaching. We don't expect the benefits of the school to stop when they leave."

Students won’t be limited to lecture halls. A videoconference with the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, will link students with physicists operating the Large Hadron Collider from CERN’s Control Centre for accelerators. Students will also spend one afternoon at iThemba LABS, an accelerator facility in South Africa, practicing laboratory experiments and learning about how particle physics and its associated technologies can apply to other fields, including medicine.

“The lessons in these final days of the school will help students link the concepts they've learned to the real world," said Fermilab scientist Christine Darve, head school organizer.

In addition to Jefferson Lab and JSA, the school is administered and supported by: Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy; Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York; Commissariat a l’énergie atomique, France; Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland; European Organization for Nuclear Research, Geneva, Switzerland; Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Illinois; Institut National de Physique Nucléaire et de Physics des Particules, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and Institut de Grilles, France; National Institute for Theoretical Physics, Stellenbosch, South Africa; National Research Foundation, South Africa; and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development, Minister of Foreign Affairs, through the University of Santiago de Compostela.


For more information and photos, visit the first African School of Physics website at:

Media contacts:

African School of Physics Organizing Committee
Christine Darve, head organizer, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, +41 76 487 2504,

Simon Connell, local organizer, National Research Foundation of South Africa, +27 82 945 7508,

Steve Muanza, school director and co-founder, IN2P3, +33 63 091 3475,

Supporting institutions
Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy
Mary Ann Williams, +39 040 2240111,
Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, USA
Kendra Snyder, +1 631 344-8191,
Commissariat a l’énergie atomique (CEA), France
Sophie Cavata, +33 1 69 08 91 65,
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland
Giorgio Margaritondo, +41 21 69 34471,
European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva, Switzerland
Renilde Vanden Broeck, +41 22 76 72141,
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), Batavia, Illinois, USA
Kurt Riesselmann, +1 630 840-3351,
Institut National de Physique Nucléaire et de Physics des Particules (IN2P3), France
Perrine Royole-Degieux, +33 4 73 40 54 59,
National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NITheP), Stellenbosch, South Africa
Rene Kotze, +27 21 808 2653,
National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa
Palesa Mokoena, [PHONE NEEDED]
Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Villigen, Switzerland
Dagmar Baroke, +41 56 310 2916
Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development, Minister of Foreign Affairs (AECID), through the University of Santiago de Compostela
Beatriz Sempere Serrano, [PHONE NEEDED],
Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Newport News, Virginia, USA
Dean Golembski, +1 757 269-7689,


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. JSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. (SURA).

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit