Hansraj, 23, achieved her Master of Science degree specialising in general relativity and achieved 93% which was the highest mark ever recorded for an MSc completed in one year in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science.
Hansraj said she was grateful to her research supervisors Professor Sunil Maharaj and Professor Rituparno Goswami for their valuable mentoring.
“This would not have been possible without them and the support of my family. I feel motivated to work harder in the research I’m undertaking now. I really do love what I do,” she said.
She is working on extending her Master’s research results into her doctoral research.
She is doing her PhD in Applied Mathematics.
“I wish to continue in academia and hope to make a valuable contribution to the field of relativistic astrophysics, which is an area I’m constantly fascinated by,” she said.
Hansraj credited her love for maths to her father, Professor Sudan Hansraj, who is a lecturer in the maths department at UKZN.
“His passion rubbed off on me at an early age and it continues to inspire me,” she said.
Growing up in a home where Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking were constant topics, she said it was inevitable her focus turned to astrophysics.
Hansraj said her research sought to answer fundamental questions about the behaviour of celestial objects such as stars, galaxies and universes.
“Understanding these entities goes beyond physical experiments. Well-founded scientific theories must be developed using advanced mathematics to explain these phenomena.”