Professor Megandhren GovenderProfessor Megandhren Govender holds a PhD in theoretical physics and is based in the Department of Mathematics, Steve Biko Campus, Durban University of Technology. Prof. Govender started off his academic career as an undergraduate student at the University of Natal, enrolling for a Bachelor of Science Degree with Physics and Applied Maths majors (1990 – 1992).

Professor Megandhren Govender then completed his Honours in Physics. He then completed his Master degree in relativistic astrophysics under the supervision of Prof. S D Maharaj.

His research focused on the gravitational collapse of radiating stars and extended irreversible thermodynamics. His collaboration with Prof. R. Maartens (SKA/ SARChI Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics) and Prof. Maharaj (Research Chair in Gravitating Systems) produced two fundamental research papers which paved the way in the application of relaxational effects during dissipative collapse. Prof. Govender was awarded the Bronze Medal for the Advancement of Science and the Henry Dyer award for his Masters dissertation.

 

He completed his PhD in relativistic astrophysics in 1999 in which he focused on the role of shear, anisotropy and heat dissipation on the end-states of gravitational collapse. With over sixty research papers in top-tiered research journals, Professor Megandhren Govender research interests are wide and varied and include exact solutions of the Einstein-Maxwell equations, braneworld stars, black holes, strange stars, quasars, pulsars, neutron stars, inhomogeneous cosmologies and extended irreversible thermodynamics. Over the years he has supervised many masters and doctoral students in relativistic astrophysics, homoeopathy and chiropractic. He has a strong collaborative network of researchers from across the globe including India, United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, Oman and Japan.

Professor Megandhren Govender has taken physics to the masses in a unique and exciting way. His shows “Riddles in you soup mug,” “the Flying Circus of Science” and the “Science of Fun” have been watched by tens of thousands of learners and educators across KZN.

Professor Megandhren Govender has also taken the theatre world by storm with his shows “So You Thought Einstein was a Genius” and “So You Thought Einstein was a Genius Too!” which at the Natal Playhouse and IZulu Theatre in Durban. Dr G has enthralled and mesmerized audiences with his spell-binding and riveting live performance that combines Physics, Mathematics, Technology, Engineering, dance and humour. He has attracted various media recognitions while popularising science which include appearances on ECR, Eastern Mosaic and most recently, SABC’s MELA


Professor Megandhren Govender is married to Dr Neetu Govender, a chiropractor in private practice. They have two children, Kyla and Lev who share their quirky and interesting views on reality and life in general. Megandhren loves music, fashion and dance. His work and life has been greatly influenced by Michael Jackson, Anthony Robbins, REM and Madonna. His current interests include the search for extra-terrestrials and life beyond the death.

His favourite original quote:
“The amount of stress that one endures is inversely proportional to the number of butterflies one counts on a daily basis.” MG

KEYNOTE TALK

Will the Real Einstein please stand up?

How does a kid from a shanty town living in a tin and wrought iron house with no running water or electricity grow up to become a leading astrophysicist with over 60 international research papers on Einstein’s gravity, black holes and collapsing stars? He is one of South Africa’s most recognized astrophysicists having changed the mindset and attitudes of tens of thousands of school learners, educators and the general public through his spring-loaded shows and effervescent personality.

How does one define GENIUS? Most people will equate Einstein with genius. Does having the ability to solve complex mathematical problems or excelling academically earn one the status of genius? What about our talented artists, musicians, poets, craftsman, teachers and entrepreneurs? We walk among amazing people with unbounded talent, vision and perception. The ability to think outside the box and to discard commonsense drives creativity and progress. Having the ability to say “YES” even if you are thinking “NO” is a major advantage in taking a leap of faith. We all have at the very least one special talent, be it carving a spoon out of a fallen tree branch or coming up with the next best thing after Facebook yet many never realise it. CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK AND YOU WILL CHANGE THE WORLD!

Can you walk through an A5 page? Most people will say no. I will show you how this is possible. How many nails can you balance on the head of a single six-inch nail without using glue, magnets or holding them together? The pessimists amongst us will say none. The blinkered thinkers will say one. I say any number. I will open your mind to infinite possibilities through the power of speech, brilliantly constructed demonstrations and experiments. By changing the way you observe the physical universe, whetting your curiosity and by appealing to your latent youth we will unleash the GENIUS within YOU!

From dunking marshmallows into liquid nitrogen (temperature of -1960C), launching methanol rockets, levitating objects, baking bread using ice-cream through to creating fire vortices using a dustbin and a turntable, the audience will be elevated to another level of thinking. The experience through audience participation, visuals, motion, humour, music and dance will leave everyone wanting more. This is a life-changing, mind-blowing and jaw-dropping experience.

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