UKZN astrophysics student Tanko Moso is a Women in Science star

By Daily News Reporter Time of article published Aug 27, 2019

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Durban - A University of KwaZulu-Natal astrophysics masters student who has a deep interest star gazing and exploring the origins of the universe has been honoured by the  Department of Science and Technology who gave her a Women in Science award.

Tankiso Moso, was given the DST-Albertina Sisulu Fellowship which will allow her to fund her astrophysics projects.

Moso who is just 26-years-old and grew up in Mtwalume on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast completed a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering (Light Current) and a  BTech in Electrical Engineering (Light Current) at the Durban University of Technology.

Her area of interest now is astrophysics and is currently working on the Probing Radio Intensity at high-Z from Marion (PRIZM) and the Array of Long Baseline Antennas for Taking Radio Observations from the Sub-antarctic (ALBATROS) telescopes based at Marion Island, located in the sub-Antarctic Indian Ocean in South Africa. She is involved in analyzing frequencies which have the potential to determine the birth of the first stars

Speaking to the Daily News, Moso said this area of astrophysics is largely unexplored and by looking at the birth of stars, they are hoping to explain our universe better.

"There are so many unanswered questions and that is what is exciting," she said.

The DST Women in Science Award acknowledges and rewards excellence by women scientists and researchers, and portray them as role models for younger women.

 As part of her work integrated learning for the National Diploma Electrical Engineering, she spent time at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) in Gauteng which sparked her interest in radio astronomy which lead to her completing a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in physics and thereafter registering for a Masters degree in astrophysics.

Ït was an honour to be considered for this national award. I would like to highlight something that I found overwhelming, I was the only student nominated in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. All the other nominees from KwaZulu-Nata were academics. I am the first in the family to enroll with a Master’s degree and for me, this is a tremendous achievement as a first-year Master’s student. I’d like to thank God for this award. I’d also like to extend my gratitude to my supervisors Prof. H. Cynthia Chiang, Prof Matthew Hilton and Dr Ilya Sinaskiy for their endless support in applying for these awards" said Moso.

Professor Cynthia Chiang, astronomer and current supervisor of Ms. Moso is extremely proud of Tankiso and all that she has achieved. 

"I was delighted to hear that Tankiso received this award and the honour is very well deserved! She has accomplished so much that it is impossible to summarize her outstanding work in just a few short sentences.  She is not only a brilliant young researcher, but she is also fearless in the face of challenges.  Tankiso has taken the unconventional path of enrolling in physics postgraduate studies after obtaining a BTech in electrical engineering, she has played a key role in groundbreaking radio astronomy in the exceptionally harsh environment of Marion Island and she has accomplished all of the above with confidence and a positive outlook that inspires all those around her,"she said.

Daily News

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