School of Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science

Dr Pretty Khambule celebrates earning a PhD in Applied Mathematics

Astrophysicist Turns Spotlight on General Relativity

Astrophysicist Dr Pretty Khambule graduated with a PhD in Applied Mathematics for her thesis on dynamics and thermodynamics in general relativity.

Supervised by Professor Sunil Maharaj and Professor Rituparno Goswami, Khambule’s research was devoted to the application of the mathematical covariant splitting of the spacetime manifold, where she explored the connection between theoretical models and the physical features arising from observations.

‘My investigation produces new insight into the behaviour of gravity and astrophysical models and emerging trends in geometrical features. The results were applied to spacetimes that are spherically symmetric that lead to novel physical significance,’ explained Khambule.

She says she has always been fascinated by the mysteries of the universe and the essential questions about human existence such as: ‘What initiated the creation of the universe? What fundamental principles governed the behaviour of celestial bodies such as stars?’

The desire to explore these unknowns and contribute to our understanding of the universe’s vast complexities is what fuelled her to specialise in relativistic astrophysics.

The young astrophysicist intends to continue research in this field, expand her research portfolio and contribute to significant discoveries about the universe.

She thanked Maharaj and Goswami for their guidance and mentorship that enabled her to grow and achieve her dream; the National Research Foundation (NRF) for providing financial assistance through the award of an NRF Doctoral Scholarship for her studies, and her family and friends for their endless support and inspiration.

When not pondering the mysteries of the universe, Khambule enjoys music and gardening. ‘Music provides a creative outlet and relaxation, while gardening helps me stay connected to nature,’ she said.

Words: Sally Frost

Photograph: Sethu Dlamini