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Physicists Unlocking a New Generation at UKZN



Physicists Unlocking a New Generation at UKZN

Physicists Unlocking a New Generation at UKZN. The inaugural lecture by Professor Naven Chetty on Wednesday, 20 July 2023, shed light on a pressing concern: the declining number of physics graduates and its far-reaching consequences, particularly in critical fields like biomedical physics, geophysics, and medical physics.

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The Current Landscape

Professor Chetty, a seasoned physicist, emphasized the urgent need to address this decline to safeguard research, development, and economic growth. He highlighted the necessity of interventions starting from high school to bolster physics education at the tertiary level.

Strategies for Change

To counteract the decline, Professor Chetty proposed a multifaceted approach. Strengthening the school curriculum stands as a fundamental step, with a focus on incorporating innovative teaching methodologies such as problems-based learning (PBL), technological learning (TL), and group learning (GL).

The disruptions caused by COVID-19, while challenging, present an opportunity to revamp physics education, placing greater emphasis on graduate attributes and throughput rates.

A Champion of Education and Research

Professor Chetty’s illustrious career at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) underscores his commitment to advancing physics education. Rising from a contract lecturer to the position of Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Agriculture, Engineering, and Science, his contributions have been transformative.

Notable milestones include the development of augmented physics modules, initiatives to enhance student enrollment in STEM fields, and the establishment of academic support centers.

Leadership and Recognition

Beyond academia, Professor Chetty’s influence extends to national and international spheres. His involvement in various committees, editorial roles, and accreditation panels underscores his dedication to advancing physics education and research. Noteworthy accolades, including a C3 rating from the NRF and multiple teaching awards, affirm his status as a leading figure in biomedical and experimental physics.


In his inaugural lecture, Professor Naven Chetty illuminated the challenges facing physics education while offering actionable strategies for revitalization. His unwavering dedication, coupled with a distinguished track record, positions him as a beacon for the next generation of physicists. As we unlock new frontiers in physics education, Professor Chetty’s vision and leadership will continue to shape the landscape for years to come.

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